Connecting for Nature

A Biodiversity Partnership for Ryedale, Scarborough and the Howardian Hills

Yorkshire Nature Triangle

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The Yorkshire Nature Triangle – destination marketing for East Yorkshire

With nationally and internationally renowned wildlife locations such as Bempton Cliffs, Spurn Point and the Humber Estuary, it’s perhaps no surprise that East Yorkshire’s so-called ‘nature tourism’ industry is generating an estimated £15m a year according to recent independent studies.

To capitalise on this growing sector of the tourism market – estimated to be 20% globally each year – Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have led a multi-agency destination marketing initiative, the ‘Yorkshire Nature Triangle’ since 2010. Initially backed by EU LEADER funding, the most recent phase of the project is supported by the Big Lottery via the Coastal Communities Fund.

The project has two core aims; raising awareness of the area to regional, national and international audiences, and supporting small and medium sized tourism businesses to make the most of the added value of nature tourism in their customer offer.

Along with a dedicated website and social media channels all refreshed in 2015, the project has also produced the first ‘business toolkit’ for nature tourism for the Yorkshire region. As well as being distributed via the project’s own events and presence at regional conferences, the toolkit is also being backed by regional tourism agencies Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY), along with being available online.

In parallel with the business toolkit, the project has also produced a ‘one-stop-shop’ visitor guide to the region’s main wildlife activities embracing sites of key partners such as the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Water and local authorities. The guide is available online, at many of the above locations and at all major Tourist Information Centres across the area.

Key to the concept of nature tourism is developing and encouraging longer stays in the East Yorkshire area, with itineraries and on-site materials designed to showcase the seasonal options for visitors willing to stay for an extended period and enjoy a wider range of activities that might encompass whale watching or snorkelling for example.

A number of sites act as cornerstones to the destination brand including; the seabird cities of puffins and gannets of Bempton and Flamborough, striking landscapes and rarities at Spurn Point, the vast wetlands of Tophill Low, the reedbeds and estuary habitats of North Cave Wetlands and Blacktoft Sands with sought after species like bittern, bearded tit and avocet, and in the heart of the area subtle vistas in the Yorkshire Wolds home to wildflower meadows and butterflies. Wet weather locations like YWT’s Living Seas Centre and The Deep in Hull bolster the seasonal offer.

The project is also seeking to invest in smaller, ‘stepping stone’ sites between these major wildlife hubs, with information and basic infrastructure that allows visitors to build upon major day visits or in seeking out particular species. Along with recent improvements to the RSPB’s Seabird Centre at Bempton, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will also open the historic Spurn Lighthouse in autumn 2015, along with plans for an additional dedicated visitor centre at the same site, whilst Tophill Low will also develop a new visitor welcome hub in 2016.

Detailed feedback on visitors’ needs and the potential financial benefits of nature tourism are also continually being assessed by independent surveys. With an International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) report in 2010 suggesting a potential £29m East Yorkshire market from wildlife watching, the future looks bright for one of the UK’s best kept wildlife secrets.

Links and contact:

Business and visitor resources can be found here: http://www.yorkshirenaturetriangle.org.uk/resources

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Author: Tim Burkinshaw

I work in ecology and biodiversity in North Yorkshire. I'm often found outdoors snapping nature and landscapes or spotting birds. In the garden I enjoy having my hands in the earth and striving for the perfect mix of greens and browns in my compost. As a Daddy and adopter I'm used to endless questions about the world around us, and generally have an answer up my sleeve for most things. If you spot me and my hat in real life or on social media do say hello!

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