A BEEKEEPER, a butcher and an ex-steelworker turned gin distiller are among the diverse independent producers being celebrated by the the North York Moors National Park.

The National Park Authority has launched a new website giving an insight into the the businesses producing some of the most distinctive food and drink within and around the Moors.

It focuses on independent enterprises instead of mass produced goods and is designed to help visitors discover the hidden gems of the National Park, whether it’s a producer, restaurant, café or food experience such as a cookery school, farmers’ market or foraging day.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Alex Perkins, chef/owner of Bridge Cottage Bistro, Sandsend Picture: Ceri Oakes

Emily Watson, visitor development and marketing assistant for the National Park, said: “Tucking into some great food and drink is often the icing on the cake for visitors as it can make the difference between having a good or a fantastic day out.

“We’re lucky in that the National Park has a deep pool of food and drink talent driven by people who love nothing better than to create and sell products that evoke the characteristics and heritage of the area, often utilising the glorious natural larder on their doorstep.”

The website project is in response to surveys which showed there is little awareness of the availability of good locally-produced food and drink within the National Park, despite it being one of the top reasons people give when it comes to choosing it as a destination.

As part of the initiative, two food critics and writers, Amanda Wragg and Jill Turton, who both write restaurant reviews and national food guides, were enlisted to bring the stories and passionate people behind the businesses to life.

Their descriptions, together with images taken specifically for the project by local photographers Ceri Oakes and Polly Baldwin and a map showing all the featured experiences, will enable people to dip into the National Park’s veritable hamper of culinary treats as part of a day trip or holiday.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Barry Brown of Fortunes Kippers, Whitby Picture: Ceri Oakes

For instance it could be following the oaky smoke aroma in Whitby to find kippers; venturing down a winding lane to try the Camphill Community’s award-winning cheeses; wandering from the beach into a Scandi-vibe bistro to enjoy a dish based on freshly caught crab; or opening the door to a former cattle byre to find a gleaming gin distillery.

Writer Amanda Wragg said: “The proliferation of great producers, growers, cooks and makers in the National Park is phenomenal.

"As Yorkshire food writers we were aware of the range of possibilities, but nothing could prepare us for the sheer number and dedication of artisans beavering away by the sea, on the moors and in the valleys.”

The website features the backstories of producers such as Chris Smailes of Westfields Honey in Fadmoor who takes his bees up into the moors to feast on the heather to give the honey a distinctive taste.

Steven Donnelly, an ex-steelworker from Marske, also features after leaving his steel work job in Abu Dhabi to set up Lickerish Tooth gin in Egton.

The website can be accessed via