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Having read in a newspaper and seen on TV a story about (quote) ‘changing the name of the Yorkshire Dales’, did you like me curse under – or very much over – your breath? What a load of tosh. I wasn’t blowing a gasket over the notion that anyone in their right mind would actually want to change the name of that mystical area known as the Yorkshire Dales. No, it annoyed me more that those reporting this ‘story’ had got it so completely wrong.
No one belonging to the National Park or Natural England has ever suggested anything about changing the ‘place-name’. What could have been said, I guess, was that if the National Park was to extend its western border – as is currently being discussed – would the name of the authority which looks after the new enlarged area need to change its own name from something other than the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Which of course is a totally different matter.
When administrative borders have been altered in the past, all sorts of weird and not-so-wonderful names have been conjured up for the bodies which look after the newly created territories. I cringe at the thought of some.
The people who live in the areas affected by a possible extension to the park have far more important matters to consider than the title of the authority which might preside over them.
Many parts of the West and North Ridings are already controlled by authorities not based in Yorkshire. Some areas currently governed by Cumbria authority are within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and I don’t remember a call being made for a change of name for the park.
And anyway, where is the boundary of this place called the Yorkshire Dales? And who decides where it is? Surely it’s a generic term used mainly by those involved in tourism and marketing or by someone wanting to sell a house at an inflated price.
As far as Dalesman the magazine is concerned the editor (me) says that the Yorkshire Dales is anywhere within Yorkshire where there’s a dale… and that’s the whole of the three Ridings!

Picture taken on Friday from within the Yorkshire Dales National Park shows the ‘Cumbria’ Howgills in mist.

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