Government Minister visits flood-hit areas of Dales

Lord Gardiner with farmer Douglas Barningham. Photo: YDNPA.

The Minister for National Parks, Lord Gardiner, has visited Arkengarthdale and Swaledale to meet people affected by last week’s devastating floods.

Among those he spoke to were farmer Douglas Barningham and Rowena Hutchinson of the Red Lion pub in Langthwaite.

It is estimated that around 60 farmers and up to 200 people have been affected by the flash flooding of buildings and land on 30 July.

Lord Gardiner was shown around the area by Richmondshire District Councillor and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) Member, Richard Good, and YDNPA Chairman, Carl Lis.

Mr Barningham, who farms at Eskeleth in Arkengarthdale, said: “I’m not sure how many livestock we have lost, as many of the fields have no wall boundaries now, so stock are just wandering around and are on neighbouring farms.

“We know for sure we have lost over 80 sheep, as well as my son’s car, two livestock trailers, a horse box, a nearly new quad bike and an assortment of other machinery.

“One piece of good news was that my daughter’s pet pony Crunchie managed to free itself from the barn by swimming over the gate that was holding it in. Crunchie is a little bruised and battered but apart from that doing fine.

“The main thing now is clearing up. We have hundreds of tonnes of materials to remove from the fields, and walls to rebuild, which is going to take quite some time – but we are not going to be beaten.”

Lord Gardiner, who also visited Reeth Memorial Hall to meet people co-ordinating and assisting in the recovery effort, said: “My thoughts are with the residents, farmers and business owners who have been affected by the recent flooding in the Yorkshire Dales.

“The community spirit demonstrated over the past week has been truly uplifting and exemplifies all that is great about Yorkshire. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has pulled together to support affected communities. Their action has made such a profound difference.”

YDNPA Chairman Carl Lis added: “As emergency repair work and the clear-up continues, the key message to get out is that the Yorkshire Dales are very much open for business.

“Visitors will be made very welcome, with pubs, cafes and attractions open and pleased to see you. Supporting local businesses by using them is more important than ever at this time”.

Richmondshire District Council is co-ordinating the recovery in the aftermath of the flood, with the support of many other local organisations.

Advice for visitors, including which public rights of way are affected, can be found at https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/home/flood-information