Cheese Festival – a second bite

Cheese Festival Street Food

A month has passed since our second, incredible Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival. We believe we managed to achieve an ever bigger and better event this year, and we hope you think so, too!

We had not one, but two hub events, including the first ever Beer and Beef Festival in the region.

The Cheese Festival @ Wensleydale Creamery opened the week-long festivities, with 35 local food and drink producers ‘wedged’ into the bustling marquee. There were cheese tastings, pairings and talks, cookery demonstrations, street food stalls, and excellent live entertainment from some very talented bands.

The Beer and Beef Festival, at Springhill Farm, Jervaulx, ended the celebrations with a bang – twelve hours of (unsurprisingly) beer, beef, fun and music!

Throughout the week some truly brilliant businesses got on board the cheese train, creating cheese-themed menus, farm walks, and demos, and helping people discover the fabulous dairying heritage of the Yorkshire Dales.


We’re going to let the pictures do most of the talking, but before we do we’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to all the fantastic producers, suppliers and businesses that took part – it wouldn’t be what it is without you.

Visit www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/cheese-festival to see the full star line-up for 2018 and find out more about them, as well as keeping an eye out for what’s coming in 2019. When it comes to our amazing local produce we have so much to celebrate.

Here’s to #CheeseFest19.

Dog enjoying cheese
“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll take half a pound, please.”
Cheese sniffing
“Boy, that’s a smelly cheese!”
Having a good laugh at the cheese tasting
“What does cheese say to itself in the mirror?” “Halloumi”
Band playing at the Cheese Festival
“Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to diss a brie, I Cheddar the world and the Feta cheese, everybodys looking for Stilton.”
Cheese cake tower
No if’s, no buts, this will be my wedding cake!
Cheese tasting at the Festival
Give me that cheeeese!
Cheese selfie with some cheese
Say cheese… eat cheese… sleep cheese! Good advice from John Natlacen of The Churchmouse, Barbon.
This cheese comes with matching sunglasses.
We even have invisible cheese! The lovely Razan Alsous of Yorkshire Dama demonstrates.
A cheese explosion! Was that supposed to happen?
“Can we go home now? You two have had enough cheese!”
“Please sir, have some Baa Bon cheese?”
Cheese Hay Bales
…and we have some extra large packs for the serious cheese eater!

Young People in Rural Communities Call for Action

The Youth Manifesto

I don’t know if you have heard, but we are facing a serious issue in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s not a new issue, but it’s escalating – and escalating fast.

We cannot attract or retain young people in the area.

As a young person who moved to live in the Yorkshire Dales and work in the National Park a year ago, the barriers for those wishing to do the same in rural and protected areas have been brought to my attention.

Continue reading “Young People in Rural Communities Call for Action”

All Aboard the Longest Conservation Area

For September’s Site of the Month we are looking at something a little bit different. It is focused on the whole Settle to Carlisle Railway, which is still a working line today. It is also the longest Conservation Area in the UK! The construction of the railway has been described by some as one of the most extraordinary feats of Victorian railway engineering, and by others as one of the most foolhardy. Continue reading “All Aboard the Longest Conservation Area”

How are ‘priority habitats’ assessed in the Yorkshire Dales National Park?

Ecologist Robyn Guppy of Haycock & Jay Associates in Hodgehill Wood near Sedbergh, inputting survey data into a tablet

From where I’m sitting at a desk in Bainbridge, gazing out of the window (hard life), the Yorkshire Dales National Park is looking mighty fine.  But is it as lovely as it looks?  Just what is the state of nature in the Park?  Do we even know?

It was these questions which prompted me to take a look at a piece of work our wildlife conservation team has been conducting since the start of the decade.

Continue reading “How are ‘priority habitats’ assessed in the Yorkshire Dales National Park?”

Digging at the Hagg in 2018

SWAAG, the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group, recently completed their excavations at the Hagg for this year. SWAAG have been working at the site since 2009, which comprises a Romano-British farmstead. This year the dig took place for two weeks and made a number of interesting discoveries. The excavations are adding a wealth of new information about Romano-British life in the dales. At present our understanding of these sites in the dales generally is rather limited.

Continue reading “Digging at the Hagg in 2018”

Mud pies for grown ups!

This spring, I was tasked with some soil sampling to support a farmer’s agri-environment scheme. As support officer for the Farm Conservation team, this is a straightforward but enjoyable task that allows me to practise the skills I need to progress in my job – talking to farmers, map reading, species and habitat identification, and taking photos in the sunshine! Continue reading “Mud pies for grown ups!”

So quick? The unstoppable spread of ash dieback disease

It started with a chance conversation with a workmate who commutes to our offices in Bainbridge from Sedbergh.   Had I seen the young ash trees dying on the Garsdale road verges?  I confessed I hadn’t.

A week or so later I was driving that way and my eyes were opened.  It was true. All along the Garsdale road there were young ash trees in a bad state.  It was mid-summer, but their branches were bare.  Continue reading “So quick? The unstoppable spread of ash dieback disease”

Dairy Days Training Day: archaeological field surveying

Dairy Days Archaeological Field Survey training day
Tuesday 4th September 2018
Hawes

A really exciting aspect of the HLF-funded Dairy Days project is the archaeological field surveys and excavation we have planned for the coming year.

For our first training day we will be learning to survey and record the enigmatic archaeological features known as stackstands. Read our blog post on ‘Stackstands and stackgarths‘ for background information on these important sites.

Stackstands and field barns near Askrigg

Our Community Heritage Officer Douglas Mitcham has sent us the following short summary of the aims of the day:

This Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority-led one day training event aims to teach local volunteers basic archaeological survey techniques. It forms part of the HLF-funded Dairy Days project, which is currently investigating the heritage of dairying in Wensleydale. The course aim is to equip people with the skills needed to help us survey a number of key dairying sites in the dale. Participants will be given an introduction to the Dairy Days project and the role that archaeological survey will play. The course then comprises five main sessions which will focus on understanding survey, planning and reconnaissance; understanding earthworks; conducting reconnaissance and level 1 survey; undertaking plane table survey; undertaking tape and offset survey. A final open session will give participants the chance to undertake further practice in whatever techniques they wish. The day will conclude with a re-cap on what the course has covered, including forthcoming opportunities to take part in archaeological surveys for the Dairy Days project.

If you would like to join us then contact Douglas Mitcham to book your free place. Lunch will be provided.

Email: douglas.mitcham@yorkshiredales.org.uk
Phone: 01969 652353

My Memorable Working Week

Kate behind the camera, filming the interview

I first thought work experience was a waste of time, an excuse to get the kids out of school for a week. But how wrong I was.

Doing work experience at Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has been one of the most eye-opening and exciting opportunities I have ever had. From Human Resources to Reception, from the Rangers to the Communications teams (which I worked with), everyone is so welcoming and friendly.

Continue reading “My Memorable Working Week”

Trees for the future

My dreams of having a smallholding recently came true when my family took on a few acres of pasture near our home in the Yorkshire Dales. Long-term plans include hens, bee-keeping, an allotment, a couple of donkeys and maybe some pigs – but the thing I wanted to do straight away was plant some native trees and establish an orchard. Continue reading “Trees for the future”

Dairying folklore

We have been doing a little research into the superstitions surrounding dairying after we read this in Marie Hartley & Joan Ingilby’s book ‘Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales‘:

“Mr J. Swales, born 1874, of Low Wood, near Pateley Bridge, remembers a family story of his grandfather, born about 1812, going to Ripon to see a wise woman because the butter would not come, and she gave him some horseshoe nails in a bottle to be buried in the churchyard. Similarly, Margaret Little of Lowlands, Askrigg, Wensleydale, used to put a poker across the top of her stand churn to keep witches away”
Hartley & Ingilby (1997 2nd ed p17)

Continue reading “Dairying folklore”

Yorkshire’s highest mountain needs your help!

Have you ever walked to the top of Yorkshire’s highest hill?

One of Yorkshire's famous Three Peaks, Whernside is suffering from its popularity - and needs your help.
One of Yorkshire’s famous Three Peaks, Whernside is suffering from its popularity – and needs your help.

At 736 metres and offering great views, Whernside is a fantastic walk, and it’s estimated that 80,000 people climb to the summit every year.

Whether you are walking it to enjoy the view, as part of a challenge, or simply to get away from it all, it’s certainly worth the effort.

But popularity comes at a price and the pressure from the boots of vast numbers of walkers is taking its toll on the mountain’s network of paths. The resulting erosion is damaging fragile habitats and creating ever-widening scars on our most iconic landscape. Continue reading “Yorkshire’s highest mountain needs your help!”

Get on the Trail! New family cycle route launched

The final touches have gone in to finish the Swale Trail – our new 12 mile (20km) cycle route along the length of Swaledale – in preparation for its official launch yesterday (Sunday 29 April).

Around 50 invited guests helped us cut the ribbon, including Reeth and Gunnerside School staff and pupils, local businesses, contractors, and the volunteers who worked on it – as well as a group of children who cycled part of the Trail to get there.

Continue reading “Get on the Trail! New family cycle route launched”

Why you should take part in this year’s Cheese Festival

Shepherds Purse Cheese Stall

We are already very excited about the prospect of our 2018 Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival and this year we want it to be even bigger and better!

There are so many ways to get involved, whether you are local, a visitor or a Yorkshire Dales business.

From Saturday 15 to Sunday 23 September 2018, all across the Yorkshire Dales, we are asking restaurants, cafes, farms and attractions to come together to champion the fantastic range of food that is produced right here on our doorstep. Continue reading “Why you should take part in this year’s Cheese Festival”

Have your say: What needs doing in the National Park?

Muker village

Perhaps more than ever before, there are many challenges facing our National Park as we look ahead over the next five years:

  • Support for our farmers after Brexit
  • Inspiring young people to discover, explore and enhance their environment
  • The illegal persecution of birds of prey
  • Rail haulage of crushed rock from the quarries
  • The provision of fast broadband to our communities
  • New housing and the retention of access to crucial services like primary schools and GPs

Plans for all of these and many, many more are included in the new draft National Park Management Plan 2019-2024. Now is your opportunity to have your say on what’s included and what’s not. Continue reading “Have your say: What needs doing in the National Park?”

Dairy Days Project Launch

We are launching our new Dairy Days project on Tuesday 24 April, 10.30am to 3pm, at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

  • Was your family involved in dairying and have you got memories, photos or stories that you’d like to share?
  • Are you interested in finding out about archaeological sites, old buildings or even going on a dig?
  • Do you have dairying bygones you can tell us about? Come along and see some of the ones we have at the Museum
  • Do you make your own cheese, yoghurt or kefir? Share your favourite recipes, hints and tips
  • Do you run a visitor business selling, making or serving dairy-based food? We’d like to work with you!

Continue reading “Dairy Days Project Launch”