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This week we thought we would update you on the work we have been doing to value some of our land holdings in terms of what they give us as society.

Many of you kindly will have filled in the survey we did in February relating to Little Asby Common where we were trying to find out what you found special and how you rated the values of all the things you liked or benefitted from. Prof Lois Mansfield is busy analysing the data and producing figures for each set of benefits.

Pictured: Limestone pavement, Little Asby Common

Already a couple of things are coming out as surprising. The sheer value of some of the benefits in monetary terms, way more than anyone expected, but also the things people valued in relation to other things. Not surprisingly, the wide open spaces for walking and tranquillity are some of the headlines, but so too are things we often take for granted such as the dry stone walls and the limestone pavement. We will be producing the final report for Natural England in mid May and once they give us the go ahead, we will be able to tell you more about the results and what we found. 

Pictured: Volunteers walling at Mazonwath on Little Asby Common

Running parallel with this work is a contract which we have let to Natural Capital Solutions to produce a natural capital assessment of every one of our land holdings. The Little Asby work is about valuing all the benefits – natural, cultural, financial, human and social. The natural capital work concentrates on the benefits the natural environment gives us, such as carbon sequestration, habitats, and so on.

Pictured: Tree planting at Gillside Wood

However, already we have noticed that some of the other benefits are sneaking into natural capital assessments, e.g. recreation, tranquillity, etc. The work on this contract will be going on all summer and reporting at the end of the year. That will give us an assessment of what each piece of our land gives us/society, but also an overall cumulative assessment. It will also give us a baseline so that we can show what difference our land management makes in future.