Jan Hicks, the chair of Lunesdale Archaeology Society, has written a summary of their recent community excavation in the Lune Valley. This turned out to be a very interesting, but complex site. Continue reading “Digging for Britons in the Lune Valley”
You may have wondered when you were travelling through the Yorkshire Dales what all those earthworks in the fields might be. Field systems are ubiquitous features of the British countryside and are iconic in the Dales, being found in many areas. For October’s Site of the Month we will be exploring an area of medieval field systems in Lower Wharfedale.
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.
They point the way for millions of people every year, but how are the fingerposts and signs in the Yorkshire Dales National Park made?
The answer is to be found in a well-lit corner of a workshop in Grassington. Continue reading “Behind the signs – the man and the machine”
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.
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”
Farming in the Dales is entering a 10 year period of massive change because of Brexit and the Government’s new policy on farm payments, set out last week in the Agriculture Bill.
Earlier this month Dr David Johnson led a community excavation with a group of volunteers, many of whom are members of Ingleborough Archaeology Group. They were investigating a likely early medieval site at Clapham Bottoms. I was lucky enough to visit the site on one of the days and get involved. Continue reading “Getting to the bottom of it”
There we were plodding across a floodplain in Hawes, carrying boxes of measuring equipment, flags and poles.
“There are lumps everywhere,” said Stuart Brown, rubbing his eyes after a Tuesday morning in the classroom at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.
Dame Schools are interesting buildings that give insights into the early education of children. Not many former Dame School buildings have survived making this a really lovely example, and is now open to the public.
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.
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.
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!”
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 Archaeological Field Survey training day
Tuesday 4th September 2018
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.
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.
Phone: 01969 652353
July’s Site of the Month is the church in Grinton dedicated to St Andrew (the missionary saint). It is often called “the Cathedral of the Dales”. St Andrew’s has had an important role as one of only four parish churches in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. The Church is Grade I listed…it is not difficult to see why.
The sandstone quarries at Stags Fell are June’s Site of the Month. Stags Fell Quarries are the most extensive areas of stone working in the Dales, and are clearly visible looking north across the dale from Hawes as an unbroken line of spoil heaps skirting the edge of Stags Fell. Continue reading “The Quarries at Stags Fell”
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.
From 21 to 25 May this year, a group of 30 young people from protected areas and rural communities all across Europe, including myself from the Yorkshire Dales, met together in the Cairngorms National Park. The aim was to give our thoughts and ideas, and to discuss the problems we face as young people living, working and learning in rural areas.
It’s not every day you see something “very special and rare”. Yet that’s what I could boast last night, having visited two of the finest wildflower hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales.
We’re growing a meadow for Grassington Festival 2018!
Thirty two square metres of wildflower meadow turf arrived at our offices by lorry in May and it looked fantastic, full of young flowers and grasses. Continue reading “Meadow in the Square: part 1!”
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”
In April Orton Primary School got a chance to explore some of the archaeology of their village. Two test pits were excavated in Orton as part of the developmental phase of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership (WDLP). These were continued the next day as part of the WDLP forum event.
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)
We’ve been very busy sorting though all the amazing information, contacts, photos and objects that people brought in to share with us last week at the project launch. We had such a wonderful and productive day with lots of people turning up throughout the day to talk to us.
Have you ever walked to the top of Yorkshire’s highest hill?
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!”
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.
How 16 year old, James Owen Thomas Creates Inspiring Artwork from Scratch cards
I met with James as he was installing his exhibition at Yoredale, Bainbridge; I was intrigued by his display and wanted to find out more about his work and how his interest in ‘scratch card’ art began…
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”
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?”
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!