Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Heaven

Gastronauts will be licking their lips over the impressive choice of food and drink on offer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park following the launch of two new projects.

The Yorkshire Dales Food Network has been set up to to boost awareness of the huge variety of food producers in the Yorkshire Dales. It also aims to improve trade by connecting them up with retailers, restaurants, accommodation providers and consumers within the National Park. It is led by a team of people who specialise in marketing, food production and hospitality.

Yorkshire Dales Food Network

A new website has been launched with the help of a £10,000 grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

Andrea Burden, the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Officer, said: “This is a pilot project that aims to create a searchable, interactive, internet-based directory and network of local food producers connected to retailers, restaurants, hospitality businesses and consumers.

“It’s a fantastic chance to raise the profile of the National Park as a visitor destination and to boost tourism-related businesses all at the same time. As an incentive, qualifying businesses based in the National Park will be offered 12 months free membership.”

Carl Lis, the Authority’s Member Champion for Sustainable Development, said: “The National Park Management Plan contains a specific objective to improve the quality and value of farm produce and to promote local food. This project is a great way to help to do that.

“The website provides information on where to eat and buy locally produced food and where to stay locally.

“In the long term, we hope the network will become self-funding from its membership and promotional activity and from any income obtained from the website.”

Yorkshire Dales Food Network spokesman Ian Smith said: "The key to the success of the project is to get consumers involved as members – and the great thing is it's absolutely free. As we build the trade membership, we hope to be able to give discounts and other incentives at great places to eat, drink and stay in the Dales, thereby encouraging trade and helping people enjoy what's on offer.

"We've been trying to get this project off the ground for a number of years and the SDF grant has helped us to finally do it. Now it's up to businesses and consumers to take up the offer and help us make it a success. Without the funding we would not be able to offer free trade membership and hopefully after the free trial period business owners will see enough value to upgrade to a paid membership".

At the same time, the SDF has given £3,000 to another project that aims to encourage people in and around Ilkley, Skipton and neighbouring towns and cities to visit pubs throughout the Upper Wharfedale area of the National Park.

The Ales Way – Wharfedale’s Ale Trail was launched in 2014 and was originally funded by Wharfedale Brewery. Since then the Brewery has been working with the newly-formed Upper Wharfedale Community Interest Company (UWCIC), which raises funds for good causes in the area, to develop the project further.

The SDF cash will be used to create a range of promotional material including leaflets, posters, stamp cards, beer pump clips, and promotional t shirts, as well as up-dating the website.

UWCIC spokesman Jonathan Shepherd said: “The SDF grant will help the development of the Ales Way project, which encourages people to visit some of the finest pubs in the UK while enjoying the beautiful countryside in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“It is not just a great tourist attraction but the alliance with Wharfedale Brewery and the hostelries serving their beers has helped to create a truly innovative community initiative. The public can get involved and enjoy a great day out in the knowledge that every time they buy a pint of Wharfedale beer they are also making a contribution to the UWCIC’s coffers and, in turn, supporting good causes in the local area.

“As well as people being able to enjoy the Ales Way all year round, plans are afoot to create a special beer festival by bus towards the end of the summer – something that has never been done before in England.”

Andrea said: “The National Park Authority has a statutory duty to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park – and both these projects fit the bill.

“They also help us to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities within the National Park by helping to improve the quality and value of farm produce and to promote local food.”


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