Impact on the landscape

The National Park’s landscape and its features – shaped by geology and natural processes as well as the interaction between people and nature have evolved over thousands of years. Climate change impacts are likely to continue to shape the landscape and the way we interact with it.

Potential climate change impacts include:

  • gorges, waterfalls and river landscapes changing with drier conditions in the summer leading to, for example, loss of the ‘white water spectacle’ while wetter winter conditions produce more dramatic water features;
  • higher levels of soil moisture and more flash flood events changing slope and soil stability with potential for more landslips and rock falls. Iconic features such as the Norber Erratics may be more at risk of damage;
  • trees becoming more prevalent in the landscape with an increased demand for shade for livestock, shading of water courses, river bank stabilisation and potential development of the bio-fuel market;
  • trees being affected by drought conditions – with increased tree losses especially on newly established plantations and an increase in the prevalence of pests and diseases due to more damp humid conditions;
  • as buildings and developments adapt to climate change and incorporate mitigation measures for the future, changes to the built landscape are also likely.

Current and planned actions that will support the Yorkshire Dales’ landscape to adapt to climate change include the Yorkshire Peat Partnership and the Catchment Sensitive Farming project as well as the ‘Woodland Siting and Design Guide‘ and woodland management plans.