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by Gill Smith

This is my first Editorial, and I have to admit to being at a loss as to what to say - John Farquar is a difficult act to follow, and my first thought is to thank him for editing the newsletter for the past six years.

This year has been a very difficult one for all of us in the countryside, with the foot and mouth epidemic. We were fortunate to miss the worst horrors here in Ryedale but the restrictions imposed certainly affected us all, curtailing most of our normal outdoor activities, whether fieldwork, simple country walks, organised trips or of course farming. Happily as I write the epidemic has finally been declared over. It will be a great relief to be able to get back to normal, to go out and about to try and find that elusive plant or watch the birds or perhaps enjoy the sight of a stoat when out on a walk.

We have a variety of articles in this issue, ranging from pine martens to lichens via wildflowers and conservation titbits, along with the Recordersí reports. These reveal that Ryedale is still a rich area for natural history, with over 100 bird species and 25 mammals occurring in our area.

We look forward to 2002 in the hope that it will be better than 2001 for the countryside. It will be interesting to see whether there are any medium-long term effects of the foot and mouth epidemic, especially on the moors where there were areas which remained almost unvisited for six months or more. Can I encourage our readers to record any interesting sightings, however trivial they may seem, and send them to our Recorders for next yearís newsletter.

Donít forget we are on the internet. In fact we have a new address at:

Gill Smith, January 2002

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