Upland Limestone

James Hudson
Farmer, Malham

Conservation schemes:
The National Parks don’t restrict us at all with how we stock the land but we have an agreement with English Nature for the land around Malham Cove and they pay us so much a year to restrict grazing so as to try and regenerate some of the small plants that the sheep tend to eat. By not stocking it quite as hard, they are finding that they are coming back to growing and this has been going about seven years now and I feel sure that they’re happy with it and we’re quite happy with it.

Busy times in Malham:
There’s quite a big car park in there and that’s full and they’re parked both sides of the road. Most Sundays, through summer, if it is really good weather then it’s busy right through. It’s a relatively small village and limited amount of parking so therefore it can cause problems. This is mostly Sundays and Bank Holiday weekends, they’re the busiest times. You can get frustrated with them if you’re prepared to let yourself do, but we try to avoid going through the village at peak times for this reason. Obviously, occasionally you have to go through, but where we live - we’re just a little way out of the village - we can sit in our garden and ignore the people on a Sunday if we want to do!

The impact of tourism:
The main change round Malham especially is the tourist side of the industry. People have had to put up with the tourists - I can’t say they’ve been a problem, but you certainly notice a big difference in the amount of people coming into the area. It affects us quite a bit because we have quite a lot of footpaths through the land and it’s quite a big tourist area. Malham Cove which is a real focal point for the tourist - we have the land that goes up there and there are footpaths leading up to it. Naturally the more people you get, the more problems you get. But saying that, the National Parks have helped us quite a lot with putting footpaths in and stiles over the walls and this has kept people to the footpaths, because they’ve been able to see where they are and they can determine them a lot better.

Tourists and livestock:
We still graze sheep and it’s amazing how the sheep seem to get used to the visitors. If you notice, there’ll be quite often sheep grazing very near to the footpaths and they just tend to ignore the people. Except obviously when you get somebody with a dog that isn’t on a lead, well that’s when you do get problems. But that doesn’t happen very often. Certainly when you get a lame sheep or one that isn’t looking too well you soon get it reported to the farm here or to the information centre in the village. We have had people bring a lamb in - it has to be a very young lamb, obviously, for them to be able to catch it - and quite often the mother won’t be very far away. They think it’s strayed from its mother but the mother usually knows where it is, so that’s caused us one or two problems occasionally.