Coordinates: 54°08′20″N 0°47′24″W / 54.139°N 0.79°W / 54.139; -0.79

Castle Howard
Ryedale shown within North Yorkshire
Ryedale shown within North Yorkshire
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial countyNorth Yorkshire
Administrative HQMalton (Ryedale House)
 • TypeRyedale District Council
 • LeadershipAlternative
 • ExecutiveConservative
 • MP:Kevin Hollinrake
 • Total1,507 km2 (582 sq mi)
 • Rank12th
 (mid-2019 est.)
 • Total55,380
 • RankRanked 308th
 • Density37/km2 (95/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code36UF (ONS)
E07000167 (GSS)
Ethnicity99.4% White

Ryedale is a non-metropolitan district in North Yorkshire, England. It is in the Vale of Pickering, a low-lying flat area of land drained by the River Derwent. The Vale's landscape is rural with scattered villages and towns. It has been inhabited continuously from the Mesolithic period. The economy is largely agricultural with light industry and tourism playing an increasing role.[1]

Towns include Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Norton-on-Derwent, and Pickering. Part of Ryedale lies within the North York Moors National Park. The A64 passes through Ryedale and village’s such as Rillington.[2] In the 2011 Census, the population of this primarily rural area of 150,659 hectares, the largest district in North Yorkshire, was 51,700.[3]

Derivation of name

The name refers to the River Rye and was previously used for the Ryedale wapentake of Yorkshire, which covered roughly the same area. The current district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was a merger of urban district of Norton and Norton Rural District, from the historic East Riding of Yorkshire, along with the urban districts of Malton and Pickering with Flaxton Rural District, Helmsley Rural District, Kirkbymoorside Rural District, Malton Rural District and Pickering Rural District, all from the North Riding of Yorkshire.



In the Middle Ages, there were markets in several Ryedale villages, Malton, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside, and Helmsley. A monastery was built at Lastingham in 654. Over the centuries, Celts, Romans and Anglo Saxons all inhabited the area around Pickering.[4][5] The district had many ancient Saxon churches and some can still be visited, including St Peter's in Scrayingham, St Martin's in Wharram Percy, St Martins in Bulmer, St Helens in Amotherby, All Saints in Appleton-le-Street, St Peter and St Paul's Church, Pickering, All Saints in Hovingham, Holy Trinity in Stonegrave, St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale built around 1055-1065, All Saints in Sinnington and St Andrews in Ailsby/Middleton.[6] The Kirkdale sundial above St Gregory's door dates to the 11th century (c. 1055 to 1065).[7]


Several abbeys and priories were also built in the 12th century, including Kirkham Priory, the very large Byland Abbey, Ampleforth Abbey, now the site of the Catholic Ampleforth College, and the finest ruined abbey in Yorkshire Rievaulx Abbey near Helmsley; it was seized in 1538 during the dissolution of the monasteries. All can be seen but all except Ampleforth are ruins.[6]

Ryedale has two impressive castles, both now ruins. The traditional style Pickering Castle was a royal hunting lodge with a moat while Helmsley Castle was a fine medieval structure with double earthworks. The latter was extensively damaged during the Civil War, in 1644.[6]


See also: Ryedale District Council elections

Ryedale District Councillors
Party 2015






Conservatives 20 12 11
Independents* 5 11 12
Liberals 3 5 4

(+1 Vacant)

Liberal Democrats 2 2 2

(*Currently (2021) composed of 5 "Independent Group", 3 "Ryedale First Independents", 3 "Independents for Ryedale" and 1 "Non-Aligned Independent".)

Since the 2015 one Conservative seat was lost to the Liberal Party in a by-election. Seven former Conservative councillors have also joined the Independent bloc.

The Conservatives are nonetheless the largest political party bloc on the council. The district is a stronghold for the Liberal Party who are the second largest political party bloc on the council.

The Ryedale First Independent Group was launched in 2019 by six former Conservative district councillors and one Conservative district councillor who failed to gain re-approval to stand for the party.[8]


In July 2021 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that in April 2023, the non-metropolitan county will be reorganised into a unitary authority. Ryedale District Council will be abolished and its functions transferred to a new single authority for the non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire.[9][10]

York Unitary Authority

The district lost about half its population in 1996, when an expanded City of York became a unitary authority, specifically the parishes of Clifton Without, Earswick, Haxby, Heworth Without, Holtby, Huntington, Murton, New Earswick, Osbaldwick, Rawcliffe, Skelton, Stockton-on-the-Forest, Strensall, Towthorpe, and Wigginton.[11][12] According to the 2001 census, these parishes combined had a population of 50,163, compared to the population of the rump Ryedale district[clarification needed] of 50,872.


Once the Malton Bacon Factory was the town's largest employer; Karro Foods now has a processing plant here
Once the Malton Bacon Factory was the town's largest employer; Karro Foods now has a processing plant here

The market towns of Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering and Malton are the largest centres of population in the Ryedale District with about half of the population living there. The eastern part of the area is dominated by the influence of Scarborough. Each of the market towns within the Ryedale District has areas set aside for industrial use and small firms engaged in light industry and the service industries occupy these. The largest employer in the district is the pork processor Karro Food Group (once known as The Malton Bacon Factory), now employing around 1,100 people in this location.[13]

The village of Sherburn in eastern Ryedale is home to factories of both Severfield[14] and the Kingspan Group[15] who purchased the local Ward Brothers steelworks business. The Kingspan factory also hosts a 5 MW solar array, one of the largest commercial rooftop solar projects in the UK.[15]

Since 1981 the district has hosted the Ryedale Festival, which features concerts and performances at various venues during the summer months.[16]

Notable residents


For all districts in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, Ryedale has the lowest rate of teenage pregnancy.


  1. ^ "Discover Ryedale". Ryedale District Council.
  2. ^ "Discover Ryedale". Ryedale District Council.
  3. ^ "Ryedale District Council - Census information". Archived from the original on 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ "A History of Pickering, UK, Legendary beginnings to modern day".
  5. ^ "Ryedale | district, England, United Kingdom".
  6. ^ a b c "Discover Ryedale - Ryedale District Council".
  7. ^ Kilpatrick, Kelly A. (16 September 2010). "St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale, North Yorkshire". Project Woruldhord. University of Oxford. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  8. ^ "New political group in Ryedale sets out its agenda". Gazette & Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Next steps for new unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset". GOV.UK. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  10. ^ "The new council". North Yorkshire County Council. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  11. ^ Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Karro Food Group UK | Pork Processors | Karro Food Group UK".
  14. ^ "Yorkshire Coast Firm Severfield On the Move". Yorkshire Coast Radio. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Eneco snaps up rooftop solar portfolio from Kingspan Energy". Solar Power Portal. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Ryedale Festival". Retrieved 13 January 2022.