National Character Area 26

Vale of Pickering - Analysis: Ecosystem Services

Analysis supporting Statements of Environmental Opportunity

The following analysis section focuses on a selection of the key provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem goods and services for this NCA. These are underpinned by supporting services such as photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, soil formation and evapo-transpiration. Supporting services perform an essential role in ensuring the availability of all ecosystem services.

Bodiversity and geodiversity are crucial in supporting the full range of ecosystem services provided by this landscape. Wildlife and geologically-rich landscapes are also of cultural value and are included in this section of the analysis. This analysis shows the projected impact of Statements of Environmental Opportunity on the value of nominated ecosystem services within this landscape.

Further analysis on landscape attributes and opportunities for this NCA is contained in the Analysis: Landscape Attributes & Opportunities section.

Natural Capital

Further information on Natural Capital within this NCA is contained in the Natural Capital and Key Ecosystem Services section.

The Vale of Pickering NCA provides a wide range of benefits to society. Each is derived from the attributes and processes (both natural and cultural features) within the area. These benefits are realised through the ‘ecosystem services’ that flow from the ‘ecosystem assets’ or ‘natural capital’ of a place.

Natural capital means ‘the elements of nature that directly or indirectly produce value to people, including ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, the air and oceans, as well as natural processes and functions’ (Natural Capital Committee, 2017).

Ecosystem Services Main Beneficiaries

The below map displays the main beneficiaries of each ecosystem service identified within this NCA and neighbouring NCAs. These range from being of international importance to local importance. Some services have not been assessed within all NCAs, and therefore in some NCAs are displayed as “N/A” (not applicable).

 

Main Beneficiaries Map

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Ecosystem service analysis

The following sections show the analysis used to determine key Ecosystem Service opportunities within the area. These opportunities have been combined with the analysis of landscape opportunities to create Statements of Environmental Opportunity. Please note that the following analysis is based upon available data and current understanding of ecosystem services. It does not represent a comprehensive local assessment. Quality and quantity of data for each service is variable locally and many of the services listed are not yet fully researched or understood. Therefore analysis and opportunities may change upon publication of further evidence and better understanding of the inter-relationship between services at a local level.

Note that numbers and figures in the body of the text are based on the 2014 profiles, unless otherwise stated.

Provisioning Services

Food provision

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Fertile soils
  • Water
  • Semi-natural pollinator habitat

State – Almost 93 per cent of the NCA is cultivated. 73 per cent of this is grade 3 agricultural land, 17 per cent is grade 2. Most holdings are given over to lowland cattle and sheep with cereals, as well as smaller proportions of general cropping, poultry and dairy, with outdoor pig rearing a notable feature on the sandier soils.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – The grade 2 and 3 soil currently supports production of cereal and feed grains with livestock rearing. Future ability to increase food production will be shaped by this soil quality, and by availability of inputs, including water availability.

Poor soil and nutrient management is associated with diffuse pollution and sedimentation which undermines other ecosystem services. Unsustainable increases in food provision could damage key natural and historic features of the Vale and would be detrimental to provision of other environmental services ultimately undermining the provision of services critical to future food production.

Opportunities – Work with the farming community to ensure good soil and nutrient management, thereby securing sustainable future for farming, protecting environmental features within the Vale, and supporting provision of other ecosystem services.

Support sustainable expansion of food production; develop opportunities for added value and local/niche products which strengthen the sense of place within the Vale.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Food provision
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating water flow
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Biodiversity

Timber provision

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Woodland cover
  • Soils

State – Woodland covers 1,180 ha, 3 per cent of the NCA.

Main beneficiary – Local

Analysis – There is relatively sparse tree cover and few woodlands, with those which do occur being mainly mixed or coniferous in character and located more to the north and west of the NCA (National Character Area description, Vale of Pickering, Natural England, Date Unknown). The open character and wetland within the Vale will limit suitable opportunities for expanding commercial timber production. There may be opportunities for further wet woodland, restoring traditional woodland management to reinvigorate older planting, and strengthening landscape character by copse planting around farmsteads on the northern Vale sides.

Opportunities – Expand native woodland cover through small-scale planting in locations appropriate to local landscape and biodiversity, to strengthen habitat networks and provide other public benefits, such as planting on slopes to maximise benefits in flood control and preventing erosion. Where appropriate reinstate traditional woodland management practices such as coppicing.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Timber provision
  • Biomass energy
  • Water availability
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating water flow
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Biodiversity

Water availability

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Corallian Limestone aquifer
  • Localised water sources
  • River Derwent and tributaries
  • Extensive network of drainage channels
  • Water also received from neighbouring upland NCAs

State – The main river in the NCA is the River Derwent. It has many tributaries which include (from west to east), the Rye, Dove, Seven, Costa Beck, Thirnton Beck, and the River Hertford (which rises 1 km from the coast, but flows westwards into the Derwent). The River Derwent is a major surface water source for public water supply with extraction points at Elvington and Loftsome Bridge 30 km downstream from Malton in the Humberhead Levels NCA.

There is ‘no water available’ from the River Derwent or its numerous tributaries within the NCA (Derwent Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy, Environment Agency, 2006).

The Corallian Limestone forms a key aquifer locally for Scarborough, although this is not a major aquifer. A significant portion of the upper Derwent’s flow at East Ayton provides recharge of this aquifer just upstream of its entry point into the NCA boundary.

There are no significant reservoirs within the NCA.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – The River Derwent is a very important source of potable water. With ‘no water available’ for increased abstraction it is imperative that water is used sustainably and that land management practices are employed which will increase water infiltration. Catchment management in surrounding upland NCAs is a critical factor determining water received within the Vale and hence available for use.

Opportunities – Work with farming community and businesses to improve sustainable use of water and sympathetic land management practices, including crop selection and water harvesting, and water conservation measures in new development.

Increase areas of semi-natural habitats to increase infiltration such as grassland strips along water courses and recreation of floodplain grazing marsh.

Work at catchment scale with surrounding NCAs to improve water availability within the Vale, including protection of flows in upper Derwent which contribute to aquifer recharge.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Water availability
  • Food provision
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Biodiversity

Genetic diversity

No information available.

Biomass energy

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Woodland
  • Soils

State – In total there is 1,180 ha of woodland (3 per cent of the NCA), which provides limited potential for the provision of biomass by bringing unmanaged woodland under management or as a by-product of commercial timber production. Some land has been given over for producing energy crops: miscanthus and short rotation coppice.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – There is a high potential yield for miscanthus in the west of the NCA but medium potential yield to the east; there is medium potential yield for short rotation coppice throughout the NCA. For information on the potential landscape impacts of biomass plantings within the NCA, refer to the Natural England website (Opportunities and optimum sitings for energy crops, Nautral England, 2010). Reinstating coppicing could provide some biomass material.

Opportunities – Work with the farming community to identify suitable opportunities to increase the net yield of miscanthus and short rotation coppice, seeking to locate these where they may be accommodated within local landscape character and realise multiple objectives for the environment.

Where appropriate reinstate traditional woodland management practices such as coppicing.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Biomass energy
  • Timber provision
  • Climate regulation
  • Biodiversity

Regulating Services

Climate regulation

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Higher carbon content peat soils
  • Woodland
  • Other semi-natural habitats particularly wetlands and grassland
  • Management of soils and cropping

State – There are small pockets of higher soil carbon content (10-50 per cent) in the east of the NCA, associated with the more peaty soils south of Eastfield. Elsewhere there is low soil carbon content of 0-5 per cent across the vast majority of the NCA, reflecting the predominance of mineral soils low in organic matter where under continuous arable cultivation.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – Cultivation in the eastern part of the Vale has led to ongoing loss (wastage) of peat through shrinkage and oxidation, with consequent loss of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; hydrologically-intact wetlands are net carbon stores.

Carbon sequestration can be increased in peat soils by re-establishing as wetlands; in most of the area’s mineral soils carbon storage may be improved by increasing organic matter inputs and/or by reducing the frequency/area of cultivation.

Opportunities – Restore/reconnect peatland and wetland habitats, restoring hydrological integrity and thereby protecting peat from desiccation, and ensuring that cultivation practices prevent soil erosion, particularly of peat soils.

Expand native woodland into appropriate locations such as small farm woodland and copses, to increase the carbon storage within these habitats.

Seek opportunities to create uncultivated margins around arable fields, minimum tillage and increased use of green manure crops within rotations, supported under agri-environment schemes.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Climate regulation
  • Food provision
  • Water availability
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating water flow
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Tranquillity
  • Biodiversity

Regulating coastal erosion and flooding

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Geology (rock type)
  • Soil type

State – The principal issues along this coastline are cliff instability and high erosion rates, particularly at Cayton Bay, Filey and the smaller communities in Filey Bay. The Environment Agency’s coastal management policy is to pursue ‘no active intervention’ along the coast, with the exception of Filey where the policy is to ‘hold the line’ of existing defences for the long term (to 2105).

The open land seaward of Filey (Filey Brigg) will continue to erode, leading to the loss of this recreational space, and may require landward relocation of sections of Cleveland Way footpath. South of Filey, shoreline management policy ‘accepts the need to allow a natural retreat of the cliff line’, which will result in some losses to seaward properties in Primrose Valley (Flat Cliff) and Hunmanby Sands, as well to the Filey Golf Course and some caravan parks (River Tyne to Flamborough Head SMP2: Non Technical Summary for Scarborough Area, North East Coastal Authorities Group, 2007).

The A165 runs along the coast and is the main road between Filey and Scarborough. The road has in the past been moved landward when threatened by failure of the sea cliffs. There are now plans to relocate the road further in land.

Main beneficiary – National/International

Analysis – Coastal flooding is not a significant issue in this NCA.

Dynamic coastal processes of erosion and accretion operating along the north sea coast are naturally functioning components of this NCA.

Opportunities – Plan coastal development and land use to accommodate predicted rates of coastal erosion, so that essential dynamic coastal processes are allowed to continue without undue detriment to other interests.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Regulating coastal flooding and erosion
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Biodiversity
  • Geodiversity

Regulating water quality

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Geology
  • Soils
  • Semi-natural habitat
  • Farming and other land management practices

State – For information regarding the current state of water quality within this NCA, refer to the Environment Agency (Draft river basin management plan maps).

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – Groundwater quality has not been assessed across the majority of this NCA, but where it has it is classed as poor.

The chemical quality of the River Derwent (and tributaries) is classed as good.

The ecological quality of rivers in the area is mainly classed as moderate, with some stretches of good quality. The ecological potential and the chemical status of the coastline is ‘good’ (Humber River Basin Management Plan, Annex A: Current state of waters, Environment Agency, 2009).

Significant problems of phosphate and nitrate pollution and sedimentation have been identified, associated with agriculture and exacerbated by the high connectivity of the internal drainage system of the Vale (Capital Grant Scheme – Funding Priority Statement, Catchment 21: Yorkshire Derwent, Natural England, 2010).

The Derwent and its tributaries are an SSSI and SAC (Derwent Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy, Environment Agency, 2006) and its fish populations, dominated by brown trout, river lamprey and grayling, are generally of a high quality, reflecting the diverse physical habitat and the importance of achieving high water quality.

Opportunities – Working with the farming community to ensure best practice in soils and nutrient and pesticides management, for example using low pressure machinery, carefully managing stock movements and riparian grazing, and informed infield nutrient application.

Encourage crops which require lower applications of fertiliser and pesticide, to help protect watercourses from chemical run-off. Promote use of buffer strips to watercourses, and creation of riparian semi-natural habitat, supporting through agri-environment schemes.

Promote improvements in farm infrastructure and waste management.

Ensure that new development around Scarborough protects groundwater quality in the Corallian Limestone aquifer

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Regulating water provision
  • Food provision
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Biodiversity

Regulating water flow

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Basin-shaped topography of the Vale surrounded by uplands
  • Semi-natural vegetation cover, particularly woodlands and wetlands

State – There is considerable flood risk throughout the NCA associated with the River Derwent and its tributaries. The towns of Pickering and Malton have experienced two 1 in 100 year flooding events in recent years. The Derwent’s tributaries tend to respond quickly to rainfall events, the floodplain of the Derwent itself widens significantly as the river flows into the flatland of the Vale of Pickering. There has been considerable historical flood defence works along the Derwent, mainly associated with land drainage to enable agricultural development.

The Sea Cut, located north of the NCA near Everley, prevents large scale flooding in the Vale from water arising in the North York Moors, by diverting flood waters from the Derwent into the North Sea (the Sea Cut follows the preglacial route of the Derwent into the North Sea).

In the west of the NCA, between Nunnington and Malton, the Rye is constrained by flood embankments which prevents the river from moving across its floodplain. Flooding in this area could spread several kilometres should these defences be overtopped or fail (Derwent Catchment Flood Management Plan, Environment Agency, 2010). There is extensive flood risk from the River Rye throughout the agricultural area between Pickering and Malton. There is similarly extensive flood risk in a broad area south of Brompton (Flood Map, Environment Agency, 2010).

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – In this bowl-shaped landscape of heavily modified drainage, peak water flows off the surrounding uplands cannot be contained within the watercourses. The flooding events that ensue can have devastating impacts on homes, businesses and on high value food crops.

In order to mitigate flood risk within this NCA, the Environment Agency ‘s Catchment Flood Management Plan (2010) supports the restoration of wetlands in the upper catchment (outside the NCA), by blocking grips (artificial drainage channels) and creating sediment-trapping buffer strips or semi-natural habitat adjacent to water courses.

Within the Vale itself the Environment Agency supports creation of winter storage reservoirs by the agricultural industry. The Environment Agency also supports the removal of redundant water management infrastructure in water bodies that are failing to reach good ecological status, in order to relieve the pressure on these water bodies caused by physical modification (Derwent Catchment Flood Management Plan, Environment Agency, 2010).

Opportunities – Restore the ability of upland habitats in the North York Moors NCA to intercept and store increased volumes of precipitation and reduce water inundation of properties and high value crops within the Vale of Pickering.

Seek opportunities to restore a more natural morphology to the River Derwent, and reconnect the river with its floodplain. The former will allow the river to naturally absorb more of the water’s energy, mitigating the effects of peak flows; the latter will allow for increased flood storage in wetland habitats within the floodplain. Ensure that any new winter storage reservoirs are designed to strengthen biodiversity and landscape assets.

Promote tree planting and creation of wet woodland habitats in appropriate locations, and improve hedgerow density where locally suitable, to reduce cross land flows of water during peak floods, improve soil permeability and the holding time of flood waters within the wider catchment before reaching main watercourses.

Promote sustainable drainage in developments to increase use of semi-natural habitats and permeable surfacing to reduce run-off and increase water filtration; slowing water entering the system.

See also opportunities to address soil erosion (sedimentation).

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Regulating water flow
  • Food provision
  • Timber provision
  • Water availability
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Biodiversity

Regulating soil quality

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Soil type
  • Geological processes
  • Semi-natural habitat

State – There are 10 major soilscape types within this NCA, the most significant by area being the slowly permeable seasonally wet clay soils (31 per cent), freely draining lime-rich loams (18 per cent), loam and clay floodplain soils (12 per cent), and peat soils.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – The slowly permeable seasonally wet clay soils may suffer compaction and/or capping as they are easily damaged when wet. This may lead to poor water infiltration and diffuse pollution from run-off. The freely draining lime-rich loamy soils have a degree of natural resilience. The loam and clay floodplain soils with naturally high groundwater have flood storage potential, but tend to have a low bearing strength and are at risk of soil compaction from mechanised operations, stock grazing and recreational use in wetter conditions.

Areas of peat soils are at risk of drying and oxidation, while diffuse pollution (for example from applied manures and very fine sediments) is possible as a result of local flooding.

The main soil types described have potential for increased organic matter levels through management interventions; the quality of peat soils may be improved through restoring the water table to its former higher level.

Careful timing of activities is required to reduce the likelihood of soil compaction where drainage is impeded and weak topsoil structure is easily damaged.

Opportunities – Working with the farming community to ensure best practice in soil management to improve structure and quality of soils. This may be achieved through actions such as using low pressure machinery, and managing stock movements, where necessary fencing watercourses/provide drinking bays to prevent bankside erosion from livestock access.

Encourage the use of green manure crops such as nitrogen fixing legumes within arable systems to replace nutrients and bind soil, and informed infield nutrient application.

Promote improvements in farm infrastructure and waste management.

Pursue opportunities to raise water levels within peat soils.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Regulating soil quality
  • Food provision
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating water flow
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Biodiversity

Regulating soil erosion

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Soil type
  • Good soils management
  • Semi-natural habitat

State – The entire NCA lies within Defra’s Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative as the ‘Yorkshire Derwent’ Priority Catchment. Around half of the soils covering this NCA (51 per cent) are at some risk of erosion.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – Freely-draining soils all have enhanced risk of soil erosion on sloping land where cultivated or bare soil is exposed. This can be exacerbated where organic matter levels are low after continuous arable cultivation or where soil structure is damaged by compaction. Outdoor pig rearing can contribute to problems of soil erosion and sedimentation of water courses (Capital Grant Scheme – Funding Priority Statement, Catchment 21: Yorkshire Derwent, Natural England, 2010). Livestock accessing stream sides increases sediment input to the water. There is widespread potential for wind erosion of the sandy soils and of the fen peat soils (4 per cent) where soils are cultivated or left bare, especially in spring.

The River Derwent is internationally recognised as a Special Area for Conservation and its special wildlife value is threatened by increased sediment load.

The Derwent is a focus area for Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) which aims to reduce sediment and nutrient input to the watercourses through good soil management and agricultural practice. This will also provide enhanced carbon storage (climate regulation), improved water quality and regulate water flows.

Opportunities – Working with the farming community, promote good soil management through Catchment Sensitive Farming and other initiatives, so that the sandy soils of the Vale slopes, and on the fen peat are not depleted by erosion, and water quality within the Derwent is improved. Such measures include promoting shallow cultivation on sandy soils, and on peat soils encouraging uptake of permanent grassland strips.

Other beneficial measures include encouraging use of green manure crops (such as nitrogen-fixing legumes) within arable systems to replace nutrients and bind soil, using winter stubble options in agri-environment agreements, and preventing livestock access to watercourses.

Seek opportunities to create semi-natural habitats and ecological networks within the farmed landscape which will protect soils and water and enhance biodiversity.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Food provision
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Biodiversity

Pollination

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Limited areas of semi-natural habitats and arable margins

State – Lowland calcareous grasslands, hedgerows and areas of floodplain grazing marsh provide a fragmented nectar source for pollinating insects.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – There is opportunity to increase food security by increasing the area and connectivity of suitable habitat for pollinators. This also contributes to climate adaptation in both food production and biodiversity.

Opportunities – Seek opportunities within the agricultural landscape to promote nectar-rich margins and species-rich semi-natural habitats within a coherent network. Support this through agri-environment agreements.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Pollination
  • Food provision
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Biodiversity

Pest regulation

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Limited areas of semi-natural wetland and grassland habitats and hedgerows

State – Small areas of semi-natural habitat are interspersed with productive agricultural land.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – Semi-natural habitat within productive agricultural landscapes may support species which prey on pest species, thereby regulating the potential damage of these to food production.

Opportunities – Enhance the network of semi-natural habitats throughout the agricultural landscape so they may provide habitat for predator species within close proximity of main food production areas.

Enhance the network of hedgerows in the western part of the Vale.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Pest regulation
  • Food provision
  • Biodiversity

Cultural Services

Sense of place/inspiration

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Landform
  • Landcover
  • Archaeological, geodiversity and historic assets

State – The topography of the Vale creates a sense of place – predominantly flat, low-lying landform enclosed by high ground on all sides, except to the east where the Vale opens out to the coast.

Senses of inspiration and escapism are most likely to be associated with the area’s remote valley pastures and woodlands, its traditional villages and parklands, peatland expanses (for example Starr Carr) and the cliffs and beaches along the less developed stretches of coastline. Awareness of the long history of human occupation in the Vale contributes to this sense of identity and inspiration.

The natural and cultural heritage has inspired artistic expression through time, continuing to the present day: work of artists such as Scarborough based Kane Cunningham seeking inspiration from and with their surroundings; others such as the printmaker Paul Musgrove seek inspiration from the ‘traces’ in the geophysical surveys undertaken by the LRC, while the abstract artist Carmen Mills takes an archaeological approach to her art inspired from Star Carr. The flat open landscapes and the limited north-south through access contribute to the remoteness, tranquillity and sense of place.

Main beneficiary – Regional

Analysis – Pressure for change in this landscape, associated with infrastructure (transport and energy) and housing could erode the essential ‘sense’ of this landscape, erode the experience of connection to past cultures and interfere with the natural processes which contribute to its essential character.

Opportunities – Ensure that developments and changes in land use are successfully integrated into the landscape, that they respect historic patterns of development and field patterns and do not compromise the sense of place and openness of the rural landscape.

Protect and where possible enhance, natural features and processes which continue to shape and give character to the Vale.

See also opportunities to enhance ‘sense of history’, ‘tranquillity’ ‘biodiversity’ and ‘geodiversity’.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Sense of history
  • Tranquillity

Sense of history

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Archaeological assets

State – The history of the landscape is evident in extensive prehistoric features including Mesolithic remains, most notably at Star Carr, Neolithic long barrows (for example Ebberston), and bronze and ironage sites following the vale edge contours. Remnants of the Medieval period persist in the form of castles, fortified manor houses and churches, plus notable examples of medieval strip fields at Middleton and historic linear settlements at the foot of the dip-slope in the north and along the southern NCA boundary.

Aspects of history likely to be particularly evident to the general public include the area’s large 17th- and 18th-century country houses and parkland estates such as Wykeham Abbey estate, Nunnington Hall and Ebberston Hall, as well as its traditional buildings with a varied local vernacular.

Main beneficiary – National/International

Analysis – Historic England consider the Vale to show a very complete record of historic land use and settlement, offering a unique opportunity to ask important questions about past cultures. This historic asset may be vulnerable to land use changes and development within the Vale.

Much of the Vale’s rich archaeological heritage lies below ground. As public awareness of this heritage increases through planned work by English Heritage it is likely to assume greater importance in local identity.

Opportunities – Minimise disturbance and damage to archaeological sites resulting from cultivation, particularly in the sands and gravels around the edge of the former glacial lake (Lake Pickering) and the ‘ladder’ settlement, and in the peatlands – the internationally important Starr Carr site and surrounds. Ensure the preservation of paleoenvironmental deposits in wetland areas, for example by maintaining water levels.

Increase public awareness of the historic importance of the Vale, using activities such as the Starr Carr excavations to spotlight the Vale’s hidden past, and interpret its drained landscape.

See also opportunities to enhance ‘sense of place’.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Sense of history
  • Water availability
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating water flow
  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Biodiversity

Tranquility

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Landform

State – The area is very tranquil in parts with 58 per cent of the area classified as ‘undisturbed’.

Main beneficiary – Local

Analysis – Tranquillity remains an important feature in parts the NCA, with 58 per cent classified as ‘undisturbed’, although this represents a decline from 95 per cent in the 1960s – tranquillity is predominantly affected by the A-roads that run along the northern and southern boundaries of the Vale, as well as by the A-road and development that occur along the coast. A sense of tranquillity is most likely to be associated with the pastoral valley areas of the western area.

Opportunities – Protect the sense of tranquillity and openness important to the rural character of the NCA particularly in the centre of the Vale, on the floodplains and peat carrs; by maintaining key views across and out of the Vale to maintain the sense of expansiveness; by minimising light spill particularly in areas classes as ‘undisturbed’ on CPRE intrusion maps.

See also opportunities to enhance ‘sense of place’.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Sense of place/inspiration
  • Tranquillity

Recreation

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Landform
  • Public access routes
  • Golf courses
  • Holiday accommodation

State – Recreation/access is supported by the Cleveland Way and the Wolds Way long distance routes, and the network of footpaths (399 km of rights of way at a density of 0.93 km per km2). There is just 36 ha of open access land covering under 0.1 per cent of the NCA. Tourism and recreation are prominent features of the coastline, evidenced in a plethora of holiday villages, golf courses, and caravan and chalet sites.

Main beneficiary – Local/Regional

Analysis – There is clear opportunity to broaden the appeal of the Vale for recreation and tourism, for example to visitors accessing Scarborough through the Vale. Further interpretation of the historic environment in the east of the Vale is one such opportunity. These opportunities need to be balanced with the other services provided by the Vale’s environment, and should be pursued in such a way that they do not undermine sense of place or tranquillity, nor the capacity of the Vale to provide other essential ecosystem services.

Opportunities – Support sustainable recreational and educational access to enable understanding and appreciation of the Vale, in particular its clear evidence of historic environmental and cultural change; identify opportunities to create new circular routes or links to existing rights of way, particularly to the Cleveland Way, Ebor Way and Wolds Way; establish the Coastal Access Trail.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Recreation
  • Sense of history

Biodiversity

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Sites designated for their nature conservation interest, including SSSI, SAC, SPA and local sites

State – Parts of three internationally designated sites lie within the NCA. The River Derwent SAC lies in the west of the NCA, and is particularly important for its floodplain grasslands that support breeding and wintering bird populations. The River Derwent is also an SSSI. The Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs SPA and the overlapping Flamborough Head SAC lie along the coast in the south-east of the NCA. In total there are 9 SSSI in the NCA, totalling less than 1 per cent (190 ha) of the NCA area. The majority of SSSI (83.5 per cent) are in ‘favourable’ or ‘recovering’ condition; the remainder in unfavourable condition showing no change.

Main beneficiary – National

Analysis – The main issues influencing the condition of nationally-designated wildlife sites within the Vale of Pickering are diffuse pollution largely from agriculture, control of invasive non-native species, and coastal erosion.

The fragmentation of semi-natural habitat means that the SSSI tend to be isolated, lacking the resilience of being part of a more robust ecological network.

Opportunities – Continue to work with the farming community to increase the uptake of in-field nutrient analysis and informed application rates, improving farm infrastructure and cultivation techniques to reduce diffuse pollution and sources of eroded sediment input to watercourses.

Seek opportunities to restore a more natural river morphology and retain floodplain grassland habitats, particularly where this supports breeding and wintering birds.

Improve the long term condition of biological sites by ensuring that underlying contributors to site condition are being managed appropriately/addressed, and that these are also considered in light of anticipated environmental change (for example shifts in species’ range and accommodating within coastal land uses, the landward habitat shifts associated with dynamic coastal processes). This opportunity should be sought both within the existing designated sites and in buffering areas and building more robust ecological networks.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Biodiversity
  • Water availability
  • Regulating soil erosion
  • Regulating soil quality
  • Regulating water quality
  • Regulating water flow

Geodiversity

Assets/attributes: main contributors to service –

  • Sites designated for their geological or geomorphological interest.

State – There are 7 SSSI within the Vale that are designated wholly or in part, for their geological interest.

Main beneficiary – National

Analysis – The geological SSSI of the Vale of Pickering are exposures created within quarries, and the cliff and foreshore exposures and coastal geomorphology of the Flamborough Head area. The factors influencing site favourability are largely scrub succession obscuring the exposures on inland sites, and the dynamic nature of the natural processes at the coast, which can act to both obscure and reveal these geological exposures.

Opportunities – Develop approaches to interpret the soils in the Vale, showing how they reveal the story of Lake Pickering and exploring how they have influenced land use, settlement, and landscape in the area.

Improve the long term condition of geological sites by ensuring that underlying factors influencing site favourability are managed appropriately, for example management to keep exposures clear. For coastal sites this should be considered within the context of dynamic coastal processes.

Principal services offered by opportunities

  • Geodiversity
  • Regulating coastal flooding and erosion
  • Sense of place/inspiration