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Campaigners Make an Impact in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Farndale's Defenders: John Capron, Matthew Clark and Robin Turton

In 1967, the Water Resources Board announced plans which had the potential to change Farndale forever. Farndale, famed for the wild daffodils that grow in its valley, was to be flooded to create a reservoir designed to provide water to the people of Hull and Sheffield. The reservoir was to be 2˝ miles long, cover a total of 400 acres and hold 8,000 million gallons of water, submerging a total of twenty farm holdings and four farm houses. Although the most popular of the daffodil walks was to survive, one third of the 2,000 acres daffodil reserve was going to be destroyed.


But largely through the combined efforts of two local men, John Capron, a retired solicitor from Gillamoor and Matthew Clark, a farmer of Cropton, and the then MP for Thirsk and Malton, Robin Turton [later Baron Tranmire], the reservoir never came into existence. They argued that there were better methods of providing the much needed water through the use of boreholes and river abstraction. They wrote letters to newspapers, organised a petition which received nearly 11,000 signatures and sent volunteers out during daffodil season to hand out 16,000 ‘Save Farndale’ stickers. They even produced a Save Farndale Christmas card.


The campaigners formed the Farndale Defence Committee with representatives from the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Youth Hostels’ Association and the Ramblers Association.


Following the rejection of the proposed bill by Parliament, and later by a select committee of the House of Commons, the Yorkshire Ouse and Hull River Authority announced, on 29 June 1971, that it was postponing the Farndale reservoir scheme, and the scheme was formally laid to rest in 1988.


Without the efforts of the three Farndale defenders, Farndale could have been a very different place.

Map link: the daffodil walks start from Low Mill at Farndale in North Yorkshire»

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