HISTORIC farm buildings are at risk of decay, ancient parkland is shrinking and nearly £18m is needed for church repairs, according to a report.

Heritage Counts 2005 is the most detailed investigation undertaken into the region's historic landscape and buildings.

In the North-East, the report focuses on the region's maritime heritage, but also revealed that it continues to have the highest proportion of listed buildings at risk in the country.

These were outlined in an earlier report released in July and included the Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, Holy Trinity Church, in Stockton; North Road Railway Station, in Darlington; Tockett's Mill, near Guisborough, east Cleveland, and Gainford Hall, Gainford, near Darlington.

At the time English Heritage said that 14 buildings in the region had improved significantly over the past year and had been removed from the register. The report, published today, claims farm buildings in North Yorkshire could be at a greater risk of decay because of declining farm incomes.

Sixty-two per cent of the historic parkland recorded in the Vale of York on the 1918 Ordnance Survey map had been lost by 1995. In the Howardian Hills, 1,750 acres have gone.

Figures also show that churches in the Diocese of York need £17.8m of repairs.

Elsewhere in the report, there is praise for a project to restore Fylingdales Moor, near Whitby. It was stripped of two-and-half square kilometres of peat and heather by a fire in 2003.

The blaze exposed 2,400 archaeological features, including a 5,000-year-old carved stone. The area has now been re-seeded.

Another project highlighted is a wooden causeway being built in Dalby Forest to prevent damage to a Bronze Age ditch called Dargate Dyke.

John Hinchliffe, English Heritage's acting regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "The loss of parkland and threats to historic farm buildings and scheduled monuments suggest many cherished aspects of Yorkshire's character are at risk. But there are rays of sunshine."

The North-East edition of the report, launched at South Shields' Customs House, South Tyneside, looks at the role of the region's maritime history and potential threats to its future.

One of the projects featured is Hartlepool Submerged Forest. The site lies on the foreshore at Hartlepool Bay and includes remnants of the trees and peat bogs that covered the area thousands of years ago.

The skeleton of a Neolithic man was discovered at the site and archaeologists believe he may have been buried there about 2,700 years ago.

Carol Pyrah, English Heritage's North-East regional director and chairwoman of the North-East Historic Environment Forum, said: "Maritime heritage has great benefits for the region in terms of tourism and the report demonstrates the benefits of partnership working to unlock the potential of the region's rich heritage and past."

To view the Buildings At Risk Register, log on to www.english-heritage.org.uk/ server/show/nav.1424