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Research

Cultural heritage project strives to save precious wildlife memories before they are lost

23 September 2020 @TeessideUni

 

Researchers at Teesside University are working alongside staff from the North York Moors National Park Authority to collect the treasured memories of the landscape and wildlife of the western Rye catchment area before they are lost forever.

Riparian woodland in autumn near Hawnby Hill
Riparian woodland in autumn near Hawnby Hill

Researchers at Teesside University are working alongside staff from the North York Moors National Park Authority to collect the treasured memories of the landscape and wildlife of the western Rye catchment area before they are lost forever.

‘Rye Reflections’ will collect memories, archives and case studies from people who have worked, lived and ‘played’ in this area, particularly around the rivers.

The initiative, which is part of the £3.4 million Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to look at ways in which people connect with the local landscape of the district and how future generations might continue to do so.

Led by a team at Teesside University Business School, researchers will collate the findings and look at how people’s perceptions of the district have changed over time.

They will then use this data to help the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership engage the local community and inspire them to conserve the landscape and further enhance their connectivity with the district.

The oral histories will highlight changes in rural life and the natural world that have happened within living memory, stories that will be told through public art installations and workshops designed to empower people to take action to conserve and enhance the landscape for the future.

Dr Jennifer Hagan, a specialist in cultural heritage, is leading the project for Teesside University Business School. She said: 'We’re really interested in hearing from everyone who has had some sort of connection with this area of the North York Moors and Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and we want to know why it is so important to them.

'We’re particularly interested in hearing childhood memories from different local communities. We will also be working with children and young people, local history and environmental organisations, landowners and people who visit to experience this spectacular landscape.

'We want to use this project to inspire people to look after the area where they live and appreciate what it has been through over the generations.'

Alexandra Cripps, Ryevitalise Programme Manager for the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: 'Memories such as catching bullheads in streams or the gentle purr of turtle doves among the trees are all moments we want to conserve.

'Such precious moments help shape our connection with the natural world and reveal how our relationship with nature has changed over time. We are urging anyone to come forward and share what moments have stood out for them – together we can help inspire the next generation of custodians of this enigmatic landscape.'

Teesside University will be collecting people’s memories between now and the end of March 2021.

If you would like to be part of the project, contact ryevitalise@northyorkmoors.org.uk to find out more.