As the Rural Coalition fights for the future of the countryside, a community in North Yorkshire is showing the way

From the high ridge of Whitcliffe Scar on the north-eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, it is hard to escape the idea that all looks right with the world. From this vantage point the eye travels west up the deep Swaledale valley, with the late-afternoon sun falling on woodland and fields of sheep, and to the west to the market town of Richmond, where the dale meets the lowlands. Along the valley floor there are occasional glints of the meanders of the river Swale itself and, in among the valley folds, villages and farms and hamlets, like outcrops of local stone.

This view has barely changed for centuries – but this is also a landscape that is not immune to the current crisis facing rural communities.

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