151MC: Primary Research

As well as carrying out secondary research I also conducted primary research when I visited the North York Moors and at Guisborough forest. For the first part of my primary research I asked a number of people who had lived in Yorkshire for most of or all of their lives a number of questions in relation to the North York Moors and its management. I was interested in what people knew about the management and also if they thought that my project would influence their opinion.

Interview 1

Were you aware of the heather burning process? Do you think this is a good or bad way of managing the moors?

“Having grown up on the door step of the moors it was a big part of my life and also my friends and families lives. I know that by burning the heather it creates a better habitat for the grouse which is then shot and I think this is very important for employment in the area. An area which has faced high rates of unemployment due to the decline in industries such as coal mining […] The shooting also brings tourists to the area and creates income for farmers. I’ve heard people say that people pay in the region of £1000 a day just to go shooting there, which is really great for the economy….it also provides food for restaurants and hotels in the surrounding area. Having worked in these restaurants myself I know how important the grouse is to maintaining tradition and also attracting people to the area, it’s definitely something which is an integral part of our heritage. So for these reasons I do think it is a good way of managing the moors because without this then many local businesses and industries would suffer.”

Were you aware of the environmental impacts that the burning has on the heather and the moorland? and were you aware of the process of burning the heather itself?

“I knew that lots of people were involved in the process and that it was on a large scale. I remember seeing the fires and clouds of smoke rising from the moors and then seeing beaters waving flags around trying to get the grouse to fly up so people could shoot them […] I don’t know much about the overall impact on the environment the burning process has but I do know that is burnt in rotations but I’m not entirely sure what this is for though.”

Do you think that the images I produce and the context provided will change your opinion on this management method and the impacts we are having on this conservation area?

“Yes, I believe it would. It would definitely open my eyes to the issues surrounding the burning and also the development in conservation sites. It would also make me more interested in my local area and want to know more about the impacts and what the local authorities are doing about it. In a way it would also affect me emotionally I think. Having been brought up in this area it would be sad to see this beautiful landscape being destroyed by us.”

Interview 2

Were you aware of the heather burning process? Do you think this is a good or bad way of managing the moors?

“I was aware that they burn the heather in cycles and this was to provide nutrients from the new shoots for the red grouse and that shooting is really important for the local economy and also for tourism. One of the reasons I think that it is a good way of managing the moors is because it provides tourism for the area and I think that this outweighs the negative impacts of burning the heather […]  I know that there is a price to pay but because the moors are so vast I don’t think it is such a big problem.”

Do you think that the images I produce and the context provided will change your opinion on this management method and the impacts we are having on this conservation area?

“It think it has the potential to make me view it differently and be more concerned at the negative impacts of the burning and also the development within the national park. However I can also see the other side of the argument […] I understand that by managing the moors in this way it is creating tourism and is good for the economy. I know that the government also have renewable energy goals to be met and due to the nature of the landscape the moors are going to be an ideal place to build wind turbines. I think as long as it’s not too in your face and not directly outside people’s houses then it’s not a big issue. I know people will disagree though and say that it is an eye sore but I personally think it’s a small price to pay.”

Interview 3

While photographing the forest there was a member of the forestry team carrying out the logging and had stopped to harness the horse up. I asked him about what he was doing and I was interested to find out why they were using the horse to log.

“We are using a coppiced method which is a traditional way of managing the forest. This method is more environmentally friendly and makes advantage of how new growths are formed when cut down. The horse is more environmentally friendly and makes less of an impact on the land and habitats compared to heavy machinery. The horse causes little damage to the surrounding woodland and the flora and fauna which makes it more sustainable.” He also told me to check out the British Horse Loggers website for more information on the traditional practices (which can be found here)

Horse Logging

From this research it has made me more aware of how my work could potentially influence people’s opinions and if it was on a larger scale it could be a cause for change. I am not aiming to make a direct political statement within my work, however by highlighting these issues and engaging people in my work it is also raising awareness of wider global environmental issues.

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Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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