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Ryedale stages a Rural Good Life day
8:50am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Features
THE scene in Ryedale was turned back several generations when residents staged a Rural Good Life day at the newly-restored Gilling East Village Hall.
Run jointly by Rural Action Yorkshire, Council for Voluntary Service, Ryedale Voluntary Action and the Rural Voice Project, it featured skilled artisans demonstrating skills of yesteryear, while at the same time seeking to promote their crafts through 21st century technology.
Maggie Farey, development officer for Rural Action in North Yorkshire, said the aim was to explore ways of improving marketing of the products made by the craftspeople, to help the economy of village entrepreneurs and enable them to demonstrate their skills.
“We are making people realise just what opportunities they have in their communities with the skills to match,” said Maggie. “It is a case of seeing what you have in your community and realising its potential.”
One of the most successful enterprises in the area, Orchards of Husthwaite, is a community enterprise which has succeeded in capitalising on the beauty spot village’s reputation as one of North Yorkshire’s best orchard areas.
Cameron Smith, leader of the venture, said it was now in its fourth year of making apple cider. It is run by volunteers and its philosophy is that any profit made is ploughed back into their community.
He said: “We have recently been able to give £7,000 towards the new heating system of our new village hall.”
Husthwaite, Mr Smith said, boasts some of the finest apple, pear and plum orchards in Yorkshire. The orchards’ renown dates back more than 300 years when they supplied fruit to Captain James Cook of Whitby on his voyages of discovery to the south seas, and the Whitby whalers who headed for some of the toughest seas in the world in the Arctic.
Spinner Dagmar Pickles uses the wool of her rare breed sheep and mixes it with hair from her Old English sheepdog to make mittens and garments the same as those worn as far back as the Bronze Age.
Dagmar, who is a member of a Viking re-enactment team, uses ageold recipes and natural ingredients such as such as walnuts, ling, cow parsley, lichen and elderberry to make dyes.
Garments made from the fleece of alpacas was on display, courtesy of Jackie Barlow’s Beacon Alpacas, also based at Husthwaite.
The animals are bred for their luxury fibre and come in more than 20 different colours, she said. She breeds the friendly animals, with people buying them for their fleeces or as family pets.
Also displaying her wares was rural artist Yvonne Burnett of Swinton, with her range of handpainted floral artwork which she transforms into greetings cards, while Annabel Kennedy showed her basketware and garden furniture which she creates using Britishgrown willow.
She now teaches children the art of weaving in local schools and creates sculpture in abstract designs.
Maggie Cochrance, of the Howardian Hills AONB, said: “There is a great deal of talent in Ryedale and its surrounding area which, we feel, can be harnessed to create jobs, especially if the craft workers can market their products.”