Maps: OS Landrangers 105 and 100; Explorers 290 and 300
Start: Carrbank Lane (659563)
Finish: Gulf Oil garage (693616)
Distance: 5.6 miles
Natural England NCA: 28 (Vale of York)
Special interest: NAFIC and FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency)
No route across the Vale of York will be ideal; but this is as good as any that we could find. Some will want to combine this walk with the following one, Walk 7 from the Gulf Oil garage to Whitwell-on-the-Hill, to give a combined distance of about 12.5 miles.
Starting at Carrbank Lane where the last walk finished, retrace steps to the path turn off by the electricity transmission lines (L) and here go left along the edge of the fields to Common Lane (M). (Halfway along this stretch, where the path kinks right, follow the finger post direction for 100 metres to the small gate.) Turn left on the road to the bridleway (N) just after the sharp road bend. This track leads in an almost dead straight line, over Sand Hutton Common (note the NAFIC Science Park over to the left) and through White Syke Plantation, for a mile to the minor road at (O). Turn right but don’t go as far as Sand Hutton village; instead go left at (P) along another tree-lined bridleway to Whinny Lane (Q). Now turn right to the crossroads (R) at the edge of Claxton. Then a left turn on the road leads to the A64 main road (S). Turning right, there is a short stretch of wide verge before going right on a path through the trees which soon becomes an old tarred roadway, but with no vehicles on it. At the next junction, Walk 6 turns left to the A64 and the bus stop by the Gulf Oil garage. Those joining Walk 6 with Walk 7 turn right towards Harton village.
The Research Laboratories of NAFIC and FERA
NAFIC (National Agri-Food Innovation Campus) is the owner of the large science park, with accommodation for a number of high-tech research establishments, that can be seen at Sand Hutton. Fera Science Limited (Fera), formerly known as the Food and Environment Research Agency, is their biggest tenant. Fera is a joint venture based in the United Kingdom and owned by Capita (75%) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (25%). Its aims are to support and develop a sustainable food chain, to maintain a healthy natural environment and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks.
The www.fera.co.uk website declares: ‘Our vision is to be a leading supplier of scientific solutions, evidence and advice across the agri-food supply chain’. In ‘Fera at a glance’ it summarises its activities as follows:
We have a scientific heritage of over 100 years
We have over 7,500 government and commercial customers
We run over 600 research projects per year
We provide services to customers in over 100 countries
We analyse over 90,000 samples a year
We have over 100 procedures accredited to ISO 17025
We work with more than 1,000 collaboration partners
We employ over 350 scientists and technical specialists including over 70 with PhDs
We are the National Reference Laboratory in 9 different areas
We publish over 100 pre-reviewed papers per year
Wikipedia offers the following background information:
2014 marked the centenary of the formation of the first organisations that have evolved into what is known today as Fera.
In 1914 the growing problem of new pests and diseases, brought into Britain following international expeditions, led to the setting up of the Institute for Plant Pathology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Then in 1916 the Food Investigation Board was established to look at new ways of preserving food after the wartime experience of high levels of wastage in imported perishable goods. In effect this started the investigation of food science in Great Britain.
Today, the factors necessitating Fera’s work and scientific developments are remarkably similar to those that existed in 1914. In the 21st Century, the continued globalisation of markets and access to world travel have led to a huge increase in the import and export of plant material, some for onward sale, some just brought back by individuals returning from holidays.
Food chains are under the combined strains of an ever increasing world population, changing patterns of food consumption as places like China become more open to western cultural influences, and shifts in climatic patterns.