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Harrogate Habitat Bank, North Yorkshire

Local planning authority (LPA): North Yorkshire Council

National Character Area (NCA): Pennine Dales Fringe

Biodiversity Units available:

Very high distinctiveness habitats
  • Lowland meadows
High distinctiveness habitats
  • Ponds (priority habitat)
  • Lowland mixed deciduous woodland
Medium distinctiveness habitats
  • Rural tree
  • Mixed scrub
  • Other neutral grassland
  • Species-rich native hedgerow
  • Other woodland; broadleaved

This 32-hectare Habitat Bank located between Harrogate and Otley is part of our expanding national network. Here we are working to connect the existing farmland with local ancient woodland to maximise local environmental benefits – transforming a mixture of permanent pasture and silage fields into a perfectly blended landscape of thriving habitats and sustainable agriculture.

Following a thorough assessment of the site's vegetation, wildlife, geology, hydrology, soil chemistry, management history, and landscape connectivity, we determined the best possible habitats to establish and made sure these enhancements would be deliverable. We established an ecological baseline for the site using Defra’s biodiversity metric, so we can clearly demonstrate biodiversity gains over time.

This assessment enables us to generate a range of high-integrity Biodiversity Unit habitat types that will ensure robust ecological outcomes. We also offer planning support to make sure our Biodiversity Units provide an effective local BNG delivery solution for developers within the North Yorkshire Council LPA area or Pennine Dales Fringe NCA. Our Units are ready to purchase now, subject to availability.

Adjacent LPAs for cross-boundary coverage:

  • Leeds City Council
  • City of York Council
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park
  • City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Adjacent NCAs for cross-boundary coverage:

  • Tees Lowlands
  • Yorkshire Dales
  • North Pennines
  • Vale of Mowbray
  • Southern Pennines
  • Southern Magnesian Limestone
  • Durham Coalfield Pennine Fringe
  • Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire Coalfield

The Harrogate Habitat Bank will be fully established over the next 15 years leading to a more functional and resilient natural landscape – one capable of supporting richer and more abundant biodiversity. 

The establishment of scrub and woodland habitats, predominantly through natural regeneration, will create a buffer along the adjacent riparian and woodland corridor – contributing to local ecological targets and adding resilience to the adjoining ancient woodland and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). 

Creation of species-rich hedgerows and enhancement of existing hedgerows will connect the site to the surrounding landscape, providing linear features for foraging and commuting wildlife including bats and barn owls. 

By transforming existing silage fields and pastures into species-rich meadows abundant with wildflowers will provide a rich nectar source for pollinators whilst also improving soil structure and increasing organic matter. The grasslands will be managed as traditional hay meadows with low-intensity grazing to benefit a diverse range of wildlife. 

By installing ponds, strategically placed to curb the flow of surface water, we can reduce soil erosion and slow the flow of water across the local landscape to alleviate flooding in the local village. Our creation of ponds and scrapes will yield incredible benefits within the next decade, offering the high-quality habitats needed for local amphibians and aquatic invertebrates to thrive. 

The Harrogate Habitat Bank will help support curlew, a species that seen significant national decline due to intensive farming practices. Returning the landscape to hay meadows with scattered scrapes will really help this species, alongside other wading birds. 

The landowners are keen to gain accreditation for school visits for young people studying nature. They hope to work with students to track the habitat management plan and monitor the wildlife growing in abundance.

Find out the cost and availability of Biodiversity Units from our Harrogate Habitat Bank