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News by Area

Monday, 7 July 2014

Editorial comment: we salute those behind this Tour de Force

Chain reaction: fans line the rural part of the A59
between York and Knaresborough.

Chief executive Gary Verity and his Welcome to Yorkshire team will wake up today knowing that the coup is complete. Pulling off what surprised some in Whitehall quarters by winning the bid was one thing but turning a promise into a reality was something else.

But at the weekend, not only did the the team deliver exactly what it said it would; it did it better than probably any other region, or the capital itself, might have done.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Wheels are in motion: spotlight on West Tanfield's Tour preparations

Beautiful backdrop to a momentous sports event: West Tanfield.
The Tour de France is galvanising the efforts of cities, towns and villages to push the attributes of Yorkshire like there's no tomorrow. Right across the county, preparations are taking place to ensure we make our link in the chain of the epic world cycling spectacle a strong one. An opportunity such as this to spotlight what is on offer does not come round often.

Nowhere is this more clear than West Tanfield, north or Ripon, where residents are eagerly counting down the arrival of the event. has been gauging the frenzy of activity.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

This beautiful county has an emblem and no signs of flagging

Setting the standards: 
The North Riding flag.
Hands up! How many of you knew North Yorkshire had its very own flag? Having proudly lived in the most beautiful county and become one of its most passionate ambassadors for more than two decades, this was certainly news to me.

As editor of BNY, I was made aware of this fact by North Yorkshire County Council whose chairman  marked North Riding Day – 22 August – by hosting a civic lunch.

Friday, 22 February 2013

How an expert touch can turn a property sale into a moving story

Hazel Curtis.
House doctor Hazel Curtis, of Harrogate-based Property Potential gives readers an insight into how to develop a cutting edge when it comes to selling property. Hazel creates market-ready houses for the sale and rental markets — a role known as home staging. The aim is to maximise value and make selling speedier.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Trish unearths the momentous to the outlandish for district's pocket guide

book review by Mervin Straughan

Quizmasters are a rare breed. They amass an inordinate number of facts from the bizarre to the truly outlandish and then tease their participants.

Combining the old with
the new: Trish Colton's
new "not a guide"
Our local quizmaster is no exception. But, as we drown our sorrows at the pub at the end of the evening, we take consolation in the knowledge that we are enriched — culturally, geographically, historically and sociologically.

Whether she is or not, I'll wager that regional historian Trish Colton would reign supreme as a quizmaster. In a similar fashion, she delights in unearthing the momentous to the outlandish.

Her latest book Not a Guide to Harrogate & District (£5.99 and published by The History Press) contains a plethora of entertaining and quirky facts about the spa destination and its satellite towns, villages and hamlets.

It's an easily digestible read that the publisher says will surprise folks who think they know the area well.

Trish, who has lived in Yorkshire most of her life, is passionate about local history and has written articles for newspapers and magazines in the UK and abroad. She's author of The History Press title Not A Guide To: York and the co-author of The Knights Templar in Yorkshire.

Her latest offering takes readers through hidden gems, buried treasures, rebellious heritage, famous personalities and even its druid temples. There are more than 120 photographs depicting life across the area. The aim is to bring together the past and present and offer a fresh perspective on local history.

A spokesperson for the publisher, the History Press, said: "Not A Guide To: Harrogate & District offers a contemporary slant on the ‘city guide’ that simply cannot be missed."

The great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie financed the building
of Harrogate's library in 1906 but, we are told, drew a line at donating
funding for building new council offices nearby.
It's difficult to argue with that. After removing it from its padded envelope and, sitting with a cuppa, I was absorbed for half an hour before remembering my urgent appointments. I, therefore, put it down and dedicated proper review time later that day but, in the meantime, kept recalling what I had learnt as I went about my business.

For instance:
  • As the main coaching town between Edinburgh and London, Boroughbridge had twenty inns.
  • Five of the district's men have been awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Late one January afternoon in 1192, locals would have seen the aurora borealis.
  • Squadron leader James Harry "Ginger" Lacey DFM, one of the RAF's top-scoring World War Two fighter pilots attended King James's School, Knaresborough.
  • Ten rivers flow through the district.
  • Jim Carter, of Downton Abbey, Shakespeare in Love and Brassed Off fame is Harrogate born and educated.
  • On 12 February 1962, a 100 mph gale blew down 800 mature trees in Harrogate and blew the dome off the observatory.
There are many more.

And all these facts bring us neatly back to our quizmaster. Local knowledge continues to feature prominently in his devilish challenges but, this time, I might just be one step ahead.

The book can be bought at

Friday, 20 July 2012

The story behind the story: award marks greater triumph for pub

Defied the odds and bounced back: The White Horse Farm Inn.
Photo by Patrick Chambers.

The crowning of an old iron miners’ pub nestling in the heart of the North York Moors as Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub is a story of triumph against adversity. The ending could have been so different.

Only a couple of years ago, the grade-two-listed, 16th-century White Horse Farm Inn, which boasts one of the finest views in the moors, closed and an uncertain future hung over it. 

But it bounced back, thanks to the efforts of customers who were so upset at the inn’s demise that they forged a fellowship, pooled their savings, and bought it.

Last week, as reported in these pages, the White Horse Farm Inn at Rosedale Abbey beat more than 600 pubs to snatch the coveted prize

The seven-strong consortium – publicans Christine Cullen and Jim Murrell of Rosedale, portrait artist Dianne Smith and husband Peter, a former racing car driver and rhubarb grower of nearby Thorgill, Kevin Laing, a transport manager, and his wife Julie, a doctor’s receptionist of Bilton-in-Ainsty, and Dannyelle Goodwin, a New Zealander and information technology contractor for a London firm of solicitors – are stunned and overjoyed at their success.

The friends say they had a hard job on their hands after eight years of poor maintenance and neglect. The pot-hole-ridden car park alone cost at least £4,000 to gravel, and the previous owners took away all the beds.

But with their combined talents they were determined to drag the “seriously under-traded” White Horse into the 21st century while, at the same, time preserving its history, renting out its 11en-suite bedrooms, and keeping it as a proper pub as well as a traditional English restaurant serving local game and fish.

The hard work was all worth it.

Landlady Christine Cullen, a publican’s daughter who has worked in the pub trade for 34 years, said: “We always knew we had the best customers and the best staff in the whole of Yorkshire and this award confirms it.”

Julie Laing added: “We’d like to give a big thank you to all our customers – local residents and the tourists on the caravan and camping sites – and everybody who has worked for us over the past two years.”

The White Horse, formerly known as Lane Head, was originally run by farmer and innkeeper John Garbutt, according to an 1871 census. It has been used for the Rosedale Shepherds’ Retreat Club’s annual dinner, parish council meetings, inquests on mining accidents, and harvest auctions. It was also a refreshment stop for the hundreds of spectators who lined the road to watch the pre-World War One motor races to the top of Chimney Bank. 

The Welcome to Yorkshire competition asked the public to vote for their favourite pub. Judges took customers’ comments as well as votes into consideration.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Sleeping apart won't get the nod from health experts

Sleeping in separate rooms can damage the health of couples. That's the view of the Skipton-based Sleep Council which is offering tips for sharing a bed. The organisation's warning comes as research shows that one in four couples are now thought to sleep in separate rooms.

And according to the body, there is growing evidence that couples who sleep together stay together and stay healthier.

The Sleep Council's Jessica Alexander said: “Sharing a bed is the ultimate intimacy and latest research from America suggests that this intimacy helps to lower stress hormones and encourage feelings of safety and security.

“Unfortunately, over time, all sorts of practical issues can get in the way and – particularly among more mature couples whose children may have left home – the call of the spare bed becomes increasingly difficult to resist. The result is a growing number of couples sleeping in separate rooms and unfortunately that can be the beginning of the end for many marriages.”

The Sleep Council is funded by trade association the National Bed Federation and raises awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing.

  • Both partners going to bed at the same time at least three nights a week. Different body clocks mean many couples tuck up at different times – alarm bells should sound when that starts to happen every night of the week.
  • Ensure the shared bed is comfortable for both partners and not just suited to one. Be sure to shop together for a new bed and get one that suits both people. Modern technology means even couples with different preferences can find a bed that suits them both thanks to zip-and-link or zoned mattresses.
  • Where duvet hogging is an issue, separate single duvets can work wonders.
  • Separate duvets can also work for bed sharers who have different temperature requirements. As a comfortable temperature (between 18 and 24 degrees centigrade) is essential to a good night’s sleep, individual duvets with a tog rating suited to each partner will put an end to heated debates of the ‘too warm, too cold’ nature.
  • Buy as big a bed as budget and room size allow. A standard double bed is only 4’6” wide which gives each person just the width of a baby’s cot to sleep in. More room means less partner disturbance.
  • Ensure the bedroom is an oasis of calm and tranquillity – i.e. no tellies or any other technology likely to distract attention away from sleep and intimacy.
  • Make sure window coverings effectively block out the light. Long summer days may be welcome in many ways but light can have a detrimental effect on body clocks and sleeping patterns.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that works for both people. Body clocks need regularity and routine for successful sleep – share a warm milky or herbal drink or even a bath together before going to bed. And try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day.
  • Remember that caffeine, alcohol, smoking and exercising or eating too close to bedtime can all make it more difficult to grab a great night’s sleep.
  • When snoring becomes a significant and ongoing problem, seek help. What starts off as a niggle can become a major issue for many couples – so get it sorted!
  • ‘Roll together’ is a sure sign the shared bed has had its day and needs replacing. It may be a charming characteristic in the early, heady days of a relationship but, like snoring, it’s one that all too soon wears extremely thin. A new bed will end the bickering.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tap into a precious water mindset, householders told

Despite high levels of rain in North Yorkshire in recent months, we need to change the way we use and value water.

That's the view of Yorkshire Water, who, with the support of Environment Minister Richard Benyon, is launching a Why use more than you need? campaign to get householders to regard water as a precious resource.

It comes as latest figures show that the average British person uses 160 litres a day – 100 litres more, per day, than two generations ago. It's also significantly more than in countries such as Germany where daily individual consumption levels stand at 127 litres per day.

This, coupled with the fact that the region's population is forecast to grow by 800,000 people by 2036, means that pressure on Yorkshire's healthy water stocks is only likely to grow.

The company is focusing its efforts on turning Yorkshire into a water efficient region by protecting existing water stocks and encouraging everyone to play their part in conserving water by 'using only what you need'.

Water chiefs have been rolling out a programme of water conservation events hitting towns and cities across the region and is ramping up its activity by sending company volunteers into primary schools to help spread the message of how everyone can help to conserve water and ensure it's used sensibly.

Chief executive Richard Flint said: "With the recent record-breaking rainfall, it's easy to forget that water conservation is still incredibly important, particularly when you think that as a country we're using more water than ever, and populations are only set to rise, putting further pressures on water resources.

"This all means that it's more important than ever that we become a water efficient region, which is why we're launching our Why use more than you need? campaign now.

"Our campaign is about giving people the tools and advice they need to help them to conserve water and ensure they're only using what they need.

"Not only will this hopefully help to drive down usage and protect precious water stocks, but by conserving water, many customers are also likely to notice a fall in their water bills, which can only be good news at a time when most are feeling the pinch."

Environment minister Richard Benyon said: "Far too often, water is not treated like the valuable commodity it really is which is why I support this campaign and hope that it can encourage people to use water more wisely.

"Climate change and population growth is going to put even more pressure on our water supplies in the future which is why it is important that everyone plays their part in becoming more water efficient."

Yorkshire Water is now recording, month-on-month, its lowest ever leakage levels following a £39 million investment over the last year into reducing leakage on its 32,000km network of water pipes. The company is confident that it will meet this year's leakage target set by industry regulator Ofwat.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Sleep on your bed decision! Buy British, says campaign

As Jubilee and Olympic fever grips the nation, the North Yorkshire based Sleep Council is hitching a ride on the patriotic bandwagon with a summer-long campaign designed to encourage people to buy British beds.

Helping retailers to flag up British made beds is a special version of the organisation's logo with a Union Jack face that can be used to instantly identify a bed as being made in Blighty.

Jessica Alexander, of the Sleep Council whose offices are in Skipton, said: “There’s been a distinct swing back to buying British made products over the past couple of years. Now, anticipation of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations along with the London Olympics is adding to the patriotic fervour.

“We’ve developed our special logo to help consumers quickly pick out a bed that has been made in Britain. We know Buying British is something for which there is a real appetite just now.

“There are many reasons for choosing to buy British when buying a bed – from the fact we have a long history of producing the best beds in the world to knowing that buying British is to buy a bed that will unquestionably meet the UK’s stringent fire safety regulations which are among the toughest in the world. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about all imported mattresses.”

The Sleep Council, which was established by the National Bed Federation in 1995 as a consumer education body to raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep to health and wellbeing.

And, according to the council, British bed making continues to be a thriving industry with more than a hundred manufacturers and one that demonstrates innovation by embracing new technology such as memory foam alongside craft traditions such as tufting and hand side stitching.

The National Bed Federation – – provides a list of manufacturers and details of various types of bed and has produced a book – Bed Times – to celebrate its centenary as a trade association for British bed manufacturers.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Veggie Week team urges county to dish out tasty alternatives

When it comes to sandwiches, there's a new kid on the Triple BLT block – and vegetarians are licking their lips with delight.

The baked bean banger, lettuce and tomato relish butty is stepping up to the plate and squaring up to the old guard as it flies the flag for National Vegetarian Week.

And organisers are urging North Yorkshire residents and food establishments to get involved in the fun.

The Vegetarian Society wants to see residents, restaurants, schools and anywhere that serves food making use of its breakfast-themed online collection of seven recipes during the 21-27 May event.

Liz O’Neill, the society's head of communications, said: “National Vegetarian Week 2012 is a fun celebration of meat-free food and everyone can get involved. We’d love to see North Yorkshire’s restaurants, cafes and companies joining in.

"These seven different breakfasts will help everyone to get off to a good start, realise how much veggie food they already eat and help to tackle head on the notion that life isn’t worth living without a bacon butty."

And she's confident the new-style butty is up to the challenge, adding: "The Triple B-LT stands up as a breakfast butty where others fail and the baked bean banger is certainly a mouthful."

National Vegetarian Week is celebrating the most important meal of the day – breakfast. An essential part of everyone’s day whether we are veggies or not. Now in its twentieth year, the annual awareness-raising campaign promotes inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.

Restaurants, schools, libraries, caterers, shops, manufacturers and individuals can find out more at

Friday, 3 February 2012

Thousands get advice for good night's rest and sleep on it

Get plenty of it and you're as fresh as a daisy but get too little and everyone will think you're a bear with a sore head. A good night's sleep is essential for the best start to the day but not everyone gets it.

Now, the North Yorkshire-based Sleep Council is offering top tips for the perfect slumber in the wake of news that getting a good night's rest is one of the most commonly searched questions on the internet.

How to Sleep is, according to the latest Google zeitgeist list, the sixth most commonly asked ‘How to’ question.

Compiled from the millions of searches made through google each year, the zeitgeist list – meaning spirit of the times – provides an annual insight into what matters to us most.

Tens of thousands of those searching the internet find their way each month to the UKs number one source of free help and advice on sleep.

From its base in Skipton, the Sleep Council has been offering information about how to get a good night’s rest for the past seventeen years.

Spokesperson Jessica Alexander said: “Sleep affects us all and lack of it is one of the most common health issues of our times. An unlucky few will need expert medical advice to solve the problem but for most people, simply following our common sense tips and hints for a good night’s sleep will make all the difference.”

These are The Sleep Council’s top ten tips for a great night’s sleep:

1. Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you are most likely to feel sleepy.

2. Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.

3. Make sure your bed is comfortable.  It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.

4. Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!

5. Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee - especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.

6. Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns.  Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.

7. Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.

8. Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga - all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.

9. Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.

10. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.

Further information about the Sleep Council and its services is available at

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gardeners urged to think wildlife when making 2012 resolutions

The Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts are reminding green-fingered folks to think about wildlife when making New Year’s resolutions.

Wildlife conservation in gardens is becoming increasingly important as more and more species are becoming endangered.

From small front yards to expansive tree-surrounded lawns, there are an estimated 16 million gardens in Britain, which in England cover an area larger than all the nature reserves combined.

Now the two organisations are encouraging gardeners to resolve to make their green space a little more wildlife friendly in the coming year

There are many easy and affordable ways in which to support nature in the UK. From budding city gardeners with limited outdoor space, to those with expansive lawns, New Year is a superb time to begin planning how to support wildlife and making green spaces more wildlife-friendly.

Gardens are part of a network of mini wildlife havens which link up habitats across the UK. All are a vital source of shelter and food, especially in winter.

Helen Bostock, an RHS wildlife expert, said: “We have seen gardeners become much more interested in the role their gardens have in helping UK wildlife.

“The New Year is the best time to plan how to make your garden more wildlife-friendly and joining the Defra-sponsored Big Garden Wildlife Competition is an excellent way to get yourself motivated.”

The charities suggest three ideas to attract wildlife:

  • Setting up birdfeeders, nest boxes, ladybird lodges and feeding hedgehogs will attract wildlife and are superb ways of getting children interested.
  • For smaller urban gardens, roof terraces or balconies having a window-box with flowering plants such as lavender will attract hoverflies, bees and butterflies. It is recommended to choose plants with the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ logo and to avoid plants with double flowers as these may lack nectar or pollen.
  • For households with space, building a pond will provide a rich habitat that attracts lots of different insects and animals. Making a pond with different depths will encourage a greater range of insects such as dragonflies and water beetles, as well as toads and frogs. Very shallow sloping edges are important – this is where the largest variety of pond creatures is found. A pond is also the ideal place for birds to bathe.

Morag Shuaib, The Wildlife Trusts’ Big Wildlife Garden Awards project manager, said: “Gardens are part of a network of mini wildlife havens which link up habitats across the UK. All are a vital source of shelter and food, especially in winter when many species need warm, dry spaces in which to bed down.

“Taking action is simple and can often involve not doing things. So, resist pruning your more strikingly architectural perennials and let them provide a home for over-wintering insects.

"Leave rotting wood to decay in a pile and see if it becomes a home to beetles, fungi, centipedes and more. This kind of approach will reward you with many more garden visitors once spring arrives and sheltering creatures become more active again.”

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Jack's reservoir memories come flooding back

Rural life has undergone immense change and, at 85, Jack Haines has witnessed the progress of the modern age in Nidderdale with the advent of improved communication links, new working practices and the burgeoning of tourism as an industry.

Fond memories ... Jack Haines. 
Photo courtesy of Yorkshire Post.
But no change has been as great as the one he witnessed as a child – the building of the enormous Scar House Dam, near Pateley Bridge, in the 1920s which had a huge impact on the lives of many folks and was one of the county’s greatest engineering projects.

As one of the last surviving witnesses of the feat, he has been documenting his memories with Simon Pearson who edits the Nidderdale Pages website which promotes the area.

Back in the 1920s, the population of Bradford forty miles away was growing, boosted by a thriving textile industry. A new reservoir was needed to serve it and work in the Nidd Valley got under way. The project was so immense that a new village of workers sprang up.

At the height of the project, around 1,200 people lived in Scar Village. Although the work was backbreaking and not well paid, the workers had good living conditions. Each home was equipped with an inside toilet, a bath and hot running water, rarities for most other households at the time.
Days gone by ... village life at Scar.

Jack said: “I think it’s important that these stories are preserved and that people recognise and appreciate what was involved during the building of Scar House Reservoir.

He was born at Scar and his memories of growing up in the village are fond ones and he often heads to where it once stood to reminisce. His family had uprooted from Leeds and headed to the temporary village where his father took a job as a site engine driver. His father was also involved in the laying of the pipe to Bradford.

The dam, as anyone will testify, is an immense construction with the same amount of stone appearing beneath the water surface as what’s visible above. It's a testament to the quality of workmanship that went into its construction. The workers were proud of their work.

Village life was happy and trouble-free.

Jack added:  “The discipline was fantastic. There was never any trouble because any man, woman or child causing any bother would see the man being given his cards on pay day on Saturday. Jobs were hard to find in those days so everyone behaved themselves."

When work on the dam finished, the village was dismantled but the Haines family settled in Bouthwaite, near Ramsgill, where he lives today in a home which belonged to the brother of Lawrence of Arabia.

During World War Two, Jack served in the Green Howards and the Black Watch and after army life, returned to Nidderdale where he followed his father into the engineering business. He married Eileen who he had first met at primary school in Pateley Bridge. His wife died a few years ago but Jack says the memories of her and his happy childhood have helped him.

Simon Pearson has spent several hours with Jack to record his memories for his online newspaper. Simon said: "It has been a privilege to have been welcomed into the home and life of Jack.

"Nidderdale Pages has been able to gain a rare insight into what it was like to live as a child in a thriving and hardworking village as one of Yorkshire’s most impressive structures was built.“

Simon will be publishing more of Jack’s memories on the online community newspaper. Anyone with heritage stories is invited to get in touch with him. Contact details are available at .

Story by Mervin Straughan

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I'll be Damned! The National Trust embraces punk

Mervin Straughan, a frequent visitor to the county's National Trust properties, drifts back in time on learning what's on offer at the conservation charity's gift shops.

Make my day punks ... the album
compiled for the National Trust
For  people like me, punk rock was a defining moment in British music. I liken it to a heavy dousing of Domestos, bleaching the lamentable material that preceded it. Its caustic advent and wake-up call were long overdue.

Thumbing through the latest releases at our favourite independent record shop in town after school was an odyssey of excitement and uncertainty. Each sleeve snarled a social commentary. From the record shop walls, special issue vinyl records affixed by Sellotape shouted in lurid green or orange as if to say: "You can't ignore us."