Nicky Philpott (front) discusses the plan of the solar energy site with Area Countryside Chairman Mike Willison.The Ramblers’ Head of Campaigns, Nicky Philpott came to West Riding Area on 8th July to see for herself some of the problems threatening our local countryside. In her busy programme organised by Mike Willison, Chair of the Area’s Countryside Committee, Nicky first went to Anglers Country Park where joined by members of Wakefield Group she was able to see the potential impact of the proposed HS2 rail route on the attractive countryside at Haw Park and Wintersett.

Refreshed by a quick lunch at the King’ Arms, Heath Common, Nicky next went on to Haigh Hall Farm, West Ardsley, where with members of Leeds Group she viewed the site of the proposed 32,000 panel solar farm. This was followed by a visit to North Yorkshire where accompanied by members of Harrogate Group Nicky walked paths in Haverah Park (including a section of the Dales Way Link) to see the effect on the landscape close to the Nidderdale AONB of three proposed windfarms adding a further 28 turbines to the 8 existing turbines at adjacent Knabbs Ridge. Nicky went on to attend the meeting of the West Riding Area Council (formerly Executive Committee) at Leeds to learn more about many of the other matters of importance to walkers that the Area takes an active interest in.

West Riding Area was also pleased to welcome Tom Fewins on the site visits. Tom, who previously worked for the RSPB, is a 6 months appointment at Central Office with a brief to revise the Ramblers’ Countryside Guidance notes. Tom commented that he returned to London with a lot of information which “should certainly come in useful in drawing together our guidance in countryside protection”.