A key part of securing the future of the railway is the maintenance and development of the rare skills associated with running a steam railway. Bryan Orange is leading the work on the development of apprenticeships. Part of the work on the apprenticeship will focus on the Lineside management, in the context of the countryside around it, which itself has rarities we need to protect and develop.

Whilst protection and maintenance of the running line is vital for operations and safety, we also need to work with other agencies who are involved with the countryside through which the NYMR runs. Conservation of the countryside for future generations is crucially important. Supporting plants and wildlife to thrive is an important issue.

Bryan has been developing working links with the National Parks Authority, Forestry Commission, Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Butterfly Conservation, all of whom have a role to play in respect of the land around the NYMR.

Did you know that the NYMR railway is bordered for 11 of its 18 miles by an SSSI? An SSSI, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is a formal conservation designation for an area which is of particular interest because of its fauna, flora or geological or physiological features, in other words, these areas have extremely high conservation value. In England, Natural England is the body responsible for the designation of these areas. SSSIs contain important habitats such as grasslands, parkland and woodland with some containing ancient woodland and ancient trees.

Newton Dale is a glacial overflow valley, formed over 12,000 years ago when the ice melted. The valley was formed by the massive volumes of melt water cutting out a way through from Pickering to Whitby.

There are two SSSI areas. The first and largest, Newton Dale, runs for 9 miles from North of Fen Bog to South of Farwath. Within this, Fen Bog itself is a European site of special interest because of rare plant life and butterflies.

Rare butterflies are the Dingy Skipper, Duke of Burgundy, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Large Heath.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has offered us up to £4.6 million as a 50% contribution to the appeal. Every pound you donate unlocks another pound from the Heritage Lottery. If you feel inspired by the work Bryan has done to date why not setup a Regular Donation today! 

Photo: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary by  Sharp Photography