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Burned maps evoke ‘sense of loss’ for Dales ash trees

Bainbridge, 9 September 2019

Artist Mark Butler has used gunpowder to burn holes in a map of Barden Bridge over the Wharfe (see image).

Each hole represents the space that will be left in the landscape once the full effects of ash dieback disease are felt in the Yorkshire Dales.  The gold leaf, by contrast, stands for the glimmer of hope that 5-10% of ash trees will be able to resist the disease and survive.

‘Barden Bridge’ is one of four Mark Butler rust print maps which are being exhibited at the National Park Authority’s Yoredale offices in Bainbridge alongside paintings of ash trees by Grassington artist Rob Keep

Ash: A Celebration and a Lament” will run until the end of October and can be seen during office hours, Monday to Friday.  Admission is free.

Exhibition curator at the National Park Authority, Lesley Knevitt, said:  “The impact of ash dieback disease on the Yorkshire Dales National Park is already highly visible.  Both artists hope the exhibition will raise awareness of what’s happening. 

“Rob Keep’s paintings are perfectly lovely. His studies reveal the amazing variety and beauty of ash trees.  Mark Butler’s rust print maps are striking not just for the original technique, but for the sense of loss they evoke.”

Ancient semi-natural woodland – the most important type of woodland for biodiversity – covers about 1% of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  About 80% of this woodland is made up of ash, making it the iconic tree of the Dales.

For more information on ash dieback in the Dales, see this blog.

Image:   ‘Close up of Mark Butler’s Barden Bridge rust print map for the latest exhibition at Yoredale’

For more information, please call the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Media Officer Andrew Fagg (Mon, Tues and Fri) on 01969 652374 or Communications Manager Richard Payne on 01969 652394.

1.    The Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of 15 National Parks in the UK. It is administered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which has two main purposes: “to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage” and “to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park”. In carrying out these purposes, the Authority has a duty “to seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities”. The National Park Authority comprises 25 members, made up of county and district councillors and members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment to represent parishes or in recognition of their specialist skills or knowledge.

2.    All of our work is guided by the vision for the future of the National Park set out in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan: “Through their passion for this special place, local people and businesses will keep the Yorkshire Dales National Park a thriving area. Its unique cultural landscape will be treasured for its stunning scenery, exceptional heritage and wonderful wildlife, and every year millions of people will be inspired to be a part of it.”

3.    All Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority media releases can be viewed online by visiting

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