In the 1990s English Nature (now Natural England) adopted a ‘Natural Areas’ approach to nature conservation, and in 1996 an English Nature report (1) assessed the geological importance of each of the Natural Areas. Using a range of criteria, including the number of geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), in the area, the geological importance of each one was described as being outstanding, considerable, notable or some.
With some alterations to the boundaries, the Natural Areas have now been replaced by National Character Areas (NCAs) which divide England into 159 distinct natural areas, 15 of which occur in the North Yorkshire Geodiversity Partnership Area. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity and cultural and economic activity. Their boundaries follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries, making them a good decision making framework for the natural environment.
|18||HOWGILL FELLS||Formerly Cumbria Fells and Dales||Outstanding|
|19||SOUTH CUMBRIA LOW FELLS|
|21||YORKSHIRE DALES||Formerly combined||Outstanding|
|22||PENNINE DALES FRINGE|
|23||TEES LOWLANDS||Formerly Lower Tees||Notable|
|24||VALE OF MOWBRAY||Formerly combined with the Vale of York||Considerable|
|25||NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS AND CLEVELAND HILLS||Formerly included the Howardian Hills||Outstanding|
|28||VALE OF YORK||Formerly combined with the Vale of Mowbray||Considerable|
|29||HOWARDIAN HILLS||Formerly included in the North Yorkshire Moors||Outstanding|
|30||SOUTHERN MAGNESIAN LIMESTONE||Considerable|
|33||BOWLAND FRINGE AND PENDLE HILL||Formerly the Forest of Bowland||Notable|
Detailed area profiles are available from http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/publications/nca/
Figure: NYGP NCA National Character Areas in the North Yorkshire Geodiversity Partnership Area