Tag Archives: Landfill

The Higher Carr

sunrise landfill

Daybreak over Seamer Carr

While Scarborough’s ‘carr’ land is mostly flat, expansive and low-lying, occupying that wedge of little-explored terrain between the Yorkshire Wolds and the rising ground towards The North York Moors, there is one notably elevated ‘carr’ which stands out from the Vale of Pickering, above other carrs, in a very literal sense. Were it open to public access, one would break quite a sweat to get to the top. That place, the Higher Carr I refer to, with topographic elevation to set the pulse racing, is Seamer Carr.

Jul09 reseeded landfill

Southern part of Seamer Carr in 2009 after re-seeding

Seamer Carr was not always a hill though. It too was once low and gently undulating like its neighbouring floodplain. Indeed it has yielded its fair share of Mesolithic secrets in its time, being close to the reknowned stone age site of Star Carr and part of the associated landscape of Palaeolake Flixton – marked today by the seam of dark peaty soils between Flixton and Cayton.

Seamer Carr today is a landfill site which served Scarborough and district for some decades, under the management of Yorwaste Ltd. It presents itself as a prominent hill occupying a triangular patch of land to the south of the Scarborough Business Park and visible on your right approaching the town on the A64 trunk road. The landfill site at Seamer Carr was recently closed to general waste  but the resource recovery centre remains in operation, recycling and reclaiming value from modern waste streams arriving by wagon or via the household waste site skips. Activity on this artificial hill today is focussed on shaping the land contours into their final geometry and capping the site with inert material.

One day, in the not-too-distant future, we hope it may be possible to gain public access onto this man-made-mount. When landscaping works are finished and the site is safely capped in a green blanket of living habitat once more it will be safe to open up some public access routes on the site. I count myself among the priviledged few who have been escorted to the top, clad head to toe in safety gear to admire the potential of this vista across the vale. It offers a rare vantage from the north side of the Hertford floodplain, directly adjacent to Star Carr. For the time being though, we must wait and anticipate and even, perhaps, salivate at the thought of the delicious panoramas that could reward future visitors to this man-made mound – a testament to the mark of human settlement on this landscape which first began around twelve thousand years ago…

litter issues

Seamer Carr landfill in July 2009

Covering part of the site with protective membrane, 2009

Covering part of the site with protective membrane

May 2013 Seamer Carr HLF visit

HLF visit to Seamer Carr, May 2013

excavators, dusty diggers

Landscaping on Seamer Carr,  May 2013

Yorkshire’s Hidden Vale

Seamer Carr landfill 2/05/13

Seamer Carr landfill 2/05/13

May 2013 sees the deadline for a Heritage Lottery Bid by a new partnership of organisations in the eastern Vale of Pickering. This will be for an ambitious project known as ‘Yorkshire’s Hidden Vale’, centred on the Carrs of the Hertford and Derwent near Scarborough. Over twenty organisations are looking to team up for a £2million five-year programme of projects which will see real benefits for the heritage, for communities and for people in this overlooked landscape.

As part of the final preparations for our  Landscape Partnership Scheme Stage One bid we hosted a site visit for two development officers from Yorks and Humber HLF. We set out to explain the subtleties of the Vale’s natural assets and cultural heritage, the little-appreciated threats it faces and most of all the tremendous opportunities posed by the fortuitous alignment of diverse public / private development plans and community aspirations. Not a lot to ask in a day’s tour round an area of over 100 square kilometres, 24 communities and some 20-30,000 people!

As I write I am still reeling from masterminding the packed itinerary today for the two staff from Heritage Lottery Fund. I think the march up the Seamer Carr landfill, with panoramic views over Star Carr and ‘Palaeolake Flixton’ was an inspiring start. What a contrast to clamber past the waste stacks and earth-movers to the summit of this artificial hill and experience the unique panoramic vista which this restored site could afford; and to have an expert archaeologist from the Star Carr dig team to explain the landscape history and significance was just spot on.

Over twenty people were involved in the day, either part of the entourage or posted at various way-points on the tour, to impress upon them the rare and hidden qualities of the Vale of Pickering landscape. From Seamer Carr we went through Eastfield for The Dell LNR and glimpse of Middle Deepdale development, followed by Folkton Bridge to see the River Hertford, the dramatic peat shrinkage and experience the open vistas of The Carrs before adjourning for lunch at Betton Farm visitor centre, by way of a driving tour of Folkton, Flixton, Seamer and East Ayton. Thar worked up an appetite!

After lunch we took a walk round Betton Farm’s geological SSSI quarry with its Jurassic coral reefs and sea urchin fossils. Our geology explained the rocks while warm sunshine brought out peacock butterflies and skittering hunting spiders over the violets and cowslips on the quarry floor. Another quarry lay in store for the final tour, the gravel workings on Wykeham Estate, with partners from Hanson’s aggregates and Wykeham Estate explaining the long term restoration plans and from Natural Retreats company enthusing about the high-spec sustainable tourism development they are working on with in a restored part of the workings. It was great to see so many key partners in the bid come together and share their passion and vision for Yorkshire’s Hidden Vale.