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Ways of Seeing
New Ways of Seeing West Yorkshire's Countryside

This year we are running a project that will focus on celebrating, exploring and mapping the great diversity and beauty of West Yorkshire’s countryside. To achieve this, we’d like to hear from you.

Our regular work tackling planning threats, and working, often with communities and campaign groups to influence Local Plans, centres around trying to prevent bad decisions. This project moves beyond this work. We will be looking and listening to people across West Yorkshire who engage with and celebrate the countryside.

We will be asking and exploring answers to questions such as, “What does good planning look like?” or more ambitiously “What would we like the countryside to be in the future?”

The first step to answering those questions is to enable decision-makers to understand that the countryside is not just empty space that hasn’t been built on yet. It’s actually chock-full of amazing things that people care about.

What’s more, as our towns and cities grow, that countryside will need to work even harder for us – for food production, recreation, climate change response and ecosystems. That’s why we’re so determined to defend our Green Belt – because it’s the countryside on our doorstep, and we need it to be there for us all.

Our big project for 2019-20 is to work with our members, friends and supporters to build a better and more robust picture of what is great about this rich countryside. By developing a deeper understanding about what we have and what we can do to make it better, we can advocate more effectively to enhance the West Yorkshire countryside for the future.

Our aim is to gather, articulate and share knowledge about the places, people, events and stories that make up West Yorkshire’s countryside. To do this we will ask the experts – those individuals, groups and communities living or working in West Yorkshire who have an experience to share.

We’re asking our members, friends and supporters to help, by telling us about things they know and care about that we can add to that shared understanding of ‘value’. We are creating a map of our ‘cultural landscapes’ to record experiences of, and interests in, the West Yorkshire countryside. This valuable information, often unheard or unrecorded, can be gathered together as data to use in the defence and enhancement of our countryside.

It might be a walking route that you enjoy, a building that fascinates you, something about your cycling or birdwatching club, your favourite pub. Anything that tells a story about how you value the West Yorkshire countryside. If the thing you love is also under threat, we’d like to hear about that, too.

Ways of Seeing stories & articles