Being an eco-tourist’s second nature in rural Ryedale: Sustainable Tourism without compromising on luxury in North Yorkshire
With two-thirds of Brits dreaming of an escape to the country this year, tourism bosses in one of Britain’s most beautiful and tranquil regions, Ryedale in North Yorkshire, are aiming to turn tourists into eco-tourists with a series of new initiatives that help holidaymakers protect the countryside while enjoying it.
 According to Visit Britain’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker
From trail-blazing town centres to the routes in between, each of the new initiatives is designed to help visitors engage effortlessly with the countryside in low-impact and sustainable ways, without compromising on luxury and self-indulgence.
“As a nation, we’ve fallen in love with nature this year. It’s not only made us happier; spending time with nature is proven to be good for our mental health and wellbeing,” says Phillip Spurr, Programme Director for Economic Development at Ryedale District Council. “Many of us are seeking to turn our daydreams of rural idyll into reality, by planning day trips and holidays to the great outdoors. We welcome over seven million visitors to Ryedale each year, and they make a vital contribution to the region’s life and economy – a real lifeline for our market towns and rural businesses, many of them family-owned.”
“At the same time, we’re all too aware of the cost to the countryside: Ryedale is a tiny corner of Yorkshire, smaller than the Cotswolds, and it would be all too easy for its extraordinary landscapes - including the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – to be overwhelmed. We’re striving for ‘natural harmony’: finding sustainable ways to safeguard the beauty and tranquillity that Ryedale is famous for, whilst helping visitors get more out of the countryside than ever before. We think that this is something that people will welcome. Having rediscovered our connection with the natural world, we want it to carry on - and we only do that by doing our bit to nurture nature.”
New initiatives include:
- Investment in cycling routes, creating traffic-free highways through stunning countryside that connect all four corners of Ryedale, from the Yorkshire Wolds in the south to the North York Moors National Park in the north, from Castle Howard in the west to the Yorkshire Coast in the east. The new Malton and Pickering link route will open autumn 2021, and the North York Moors Cycleway opened this year.
- ‘Sit Back & Enjoy the Ride’: that’s the advice being given to Ryedale’s day-trippers in a campaign that makes it a pleasure to dump the car. Options include journeying along Britain’s Most Scenic Route via luxury coach; travelling by world-famous vintage steam train through the region’s magnificent moorland; and a well-connected network of public transport that acts as a handy, low-cost ‘chauffeur’ service to Ryedale’s favourite footpaths, award-winning eateries, and some of Britain’s best attractions.
- Ryedale is a place that makes space for ethical local producers on its high streets – and even more have been setting up shop in the region’s market towns over the past few months. They include Malton Brewery, the UK’s smallest nano-brewery, with specialities like Yorkshire Pudding Beer (yes, made with 100% real Yorkshire Puddings).
- Impressive new eco-experiences include England’s only Fairy Sanctuary, Northwood, a place of wonder and enchantment that aims to foster a connection with nature. Featuring woodland trails, a Fairy Museum, Woodland Kitchen, and woodland luxury eco-glamping, the sanctuary is ‘off grid’ with its own electricity and water, and an active biodiversity programme supported by “the fairies and nature spirits whose job it is to help the trees and plants to grow.”
- In the heart of Ryedale, Yorkshire Arboretum is building the UK’s first Tree Health Centre, where visitors will be able to see pioneering work to secure the future of our trees – including ways of combating pests and diseases.
- Other visitor attractions like the award-winning National Bird of Prey Centre and Flamingo Land Zoo are taking an active role in conservation breeding programmes, ensuring the future of endangered species across the world; while a huge number of other attractions - like Castle Howard, Helmsley Walled Garden, Nunnington Hall, and Wolds Way Lavender have transformed the way they manage their outdoor spaces to encourage wildlife.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout Ryedale’s main market towns – Helmsley, Malton, Pickering and Kirkbymoorside - making it easy to catch the next bus connection; locate a walk or bike ride; or pre-book space at attractions, meals or a last-minute sleepover. For electric car drivers, EV charging points have been installed in each of the region’s market towns.
Phillip adds: “Throughout Ryedale, we’ve been joining forces to make it easy to become an eco-tourist: if everybody takes a few simple steps, and follows the countryside code, then it’ll become ‘second nature’ to keep our beautiful British countryside peaceful and beautiful – a haven for wildlife, as well as humans.”
Information about where to go and what to do in Ryedale is available at www.visitryedale.co.uk – part of the destination development initiative from Ryedale District Council.
 According to YouGov surveys commissioned by both the RSPB and National Trust
 According to YouGov survey commissioned by the National Trust, 47% of people surveyed want to continue spending time in nature when life returns to ‘normal’
Notes to editors
For feature ideas on Ryedale’s eco-friendly attractions, eateries, and accommodation; or for more media information, interviews or photographs, or to arrange a press trip to Ryedale please get in touch with us:
- Nicola Bexon and Sam Orange
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