|Hugh Dennis - photo copyright Gazette Herald|
Writer and comedy performer Hugh Dennis recently officially opened the new visitor attraction at Sutton Bank National Park Centre in the North Yorks National Park.
Using a combination of innovative computer graphics, touchscreen technology and children’s interactives, the new attraction reveals the story behind the creation of the dramatic landscape at Sutton Bank and how it has shaped people’s lives through the ages. Entry to the new attraction and the centre is free.
Although the high inland cliff of Sutton Bank was created during the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, its layers of rock tell the story of more than 60 million years of the earth’s history. Part of the new attraction is a computer generated film, narrated by earth historian Professor Aubrey Manning, which in five minutes takes people through this amazing geology story from its beginnings under tropical oceans through to the present day.
Using touchscreens people can access more information about the area’s geology but also watch short films and read tales of those who’ve lived, worked and been inspired by the area. These range from Bronze Age settlers who used the hillforts of Boltby and Roulston Scar to rest and trade their animals to more modern day tales of gliders and the Sutton Bank ‘road man’ who helped motorists get up the steep hill. Through various interactive play facilities, the new attraction also aims to give children a greater understanding of why the area is such an important and special place.
To help people get out and explore the Sutton Bank area, an iPhone app with four walking routes has been developed and the National Park Authority has created an easy access trail that wends its way from the National Park Centre to a new viewing platform on the escarpment edge.
Hugh Dennis recently visited Sutton Bank while filming the BBC’s ‘Great British Countryside’ series in which he went up in a glider to explain how the iconic landscape was created. He said:
“The fact that our lives are still affected by events that happened millions of years ago continues to interest and intrigue me. Sutton Bank is one of the most impressive features of Yorkshire’s landscape and has a fascinating tale to tell. This new attraction will I’m sure provide a whole new level of enjoyment and understanding for people who visit.”
More than 10,000 people visit Sutton Bank National Park Centre to go for a walk or bike ride, find out about the wider area or simply to admire the beautiful panoramic views - and the new visitor attraction shows there's much more to the area than stunning scenery.
The new attraction at Sutton Bank National Park Centre has been developed as part of the five year Lime & Ice Project which is providing new opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and learn about the south-west corner of the North York Moors National Park and the northern half of the adjoining Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The project is funded by a grant of just under £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sutton Bank National Park Centre is on the A170 between Thirsk and Helmsley. It is open daily in spring and summer with reduced opening during the winter. More information on facilities at the centre, opening times and contact details can be found at www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/suttonbank