A COLOURFUL new booklet which has been published by authors Peter and Ruth Kerr, captures the delicate wild Alpines that grow among the many nooks and crannies of the Dales - some thriving, some rare and in decline, but all beautiful in their natural setting.

The couple’s illustrated booklet Alpines of the Yorkshire Dales, complements an article of the same name which appeared in the Alpine Garden Society journal of September 1970.

That article described the wonderful and rare wild flowers which grow in the beautiful landscapes of this part of the North of England.

They can be found in the area stretching from Skipton in the south to the River Tees in the north, using historic county boundaries for Yorkshire.

It was written by eminent botanist and entomologist E.C.M. (Chris) Haes (1930 - 2014).

Peter and Ruth’s booklet looks at the changes of the past fifty years with illustrations of the plants and landscapes which Chris Haes described.

“Lifestyle changes over the past 50 years and the challenges to our fragile plant habitats are beyond anything Chris Haes could ever have envisaged, “ say the Kerrs.

Some of the many significant changes and challenges, both positive and also of cause for great concern include:-

• Greater pressures on Dales habitats through easier road access for millions of people;

• The effects of climate change;

• Changed farming techniques and the huge loss of hay meadows;

• Social changes in the Dales and the growth of second home ownership with challenges for the local people who remain;

• Significant local government reorganisations and extensions to the Yorkshire Dales National Park;

• The huge and growing popularity of day visits to popular beauty spots and participation in day challenges like the Three Peaks Walk;

• The internet revolution and what this has done by spreading and sharing knowledge and information;

• The “Europe” factor , legislative changes, the pandemic, threats such as ash dieback;

• The excellent work of national and local environmental groups to safeguard and enhance Dales landscapes, plants and habitats.

So, how fare the plants?

The couple add: “There are many reasons for encouragement.

“Hay meadows are being recreated, trees are being planted, hedgerows renewed, wildflower sites safeguarded and extended by the work of many excellent local organisations.

“Individual species such as the Lady’s Slipper Orchid are being specifically safeguarded and monitored.”

Many other plants deserving special mention as characteristic of the Dales are described and illustrated in the booklet.

They continue: “To mention a few which are being carefully monitored there are Globeflower, Bird’s-Eye Primrose, Early Purple Orchid and Purple Saxifrage, the latter growing on the cliffs of Penyghent and Ingleborough.

“Monitoring and recording of plant data by amateur and professional botanists is so much easier these days thanks to the internet, and the information is readily accessible and shared.

“Some plants recorded by Chris Haes are in decline, but where possible these are monitored, with site data recorded, and sites safeguarded as part of the extensive network of national and local nature reserves and identified wildlife sites.

“There is much we can be positive about providing we all play our part.

The booklet costs £7.50 and can be purchased at the Stripey Badger bookshop in Grassington or at the Folly Museum in Settle.