The Sky’s the Limit

On Saturday 27th August, six brave individuals took to the sky to raise money for the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust – check out the photos and the video.

Meet the Team:
David Shaw, YDMT Trustee – this little fundraising adventure was all David’s idea
Nicole Allan, Events Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery – Going above and beyond the call of duty in her support of YDMT (14,000ft above to be precise!)
David Sharrod, YDMT Director – very very scared of heights, but promised he’d do it if one of our friend’s at People’s Postcode Lottery did too (nice one Nicole!)!
Helen, David’s better half – has always wanted to do this
Steve Macaré, YDMT Chairman of Trustees – when invited to take part said “I thought you’d never ask!”
Dorothy Fairburn, YDMT Vice Chairman of Trustees – couldn’t think of anything worse… yet couldn’t turn down such an adrenaline rush.

The team bravely hopped on a plane to reach an altitude of around 3 miles (14,000ft).  There were plenty of butterflies in everyone’s stomachs by this stage, but what goes up must come down…

Chocks Away!

Chocks Away!

The hardest part for the divers was overcoming their instincts of self-preservation and exiting the plane.  Our team of extreme fundraisers experienced freefall for about 47 seconds (not that they were counting!) until the parachute was deployed at 5000ft.

Then the divers had the chance to experience the breathtaking views and tranquillity of the rolling countryside below as they completed their journey back to solid ground at a much more sedate pace, taking around five minutes to descend the final 5000 feet under the safety of the parachute.

Phew!  What an act of commitment and dedication!  What an adrenaline rush!
Our divers have raised in excess of £4,500 so far – an incredible amount of money!

The YDMT SkyDivers Celebrate

The YDMT SkyDivers Celebrate

Well done, and huge thanks from all at YDMT!

If you’d like to sponsor the sky dive and support the work of YDMT, please visit


YDMT unveil our next Supporter Woodland…

We’re delighted to announce the location of our 2011-12 Supporter Woodland – Ben Moor Wood in the beautiful countryside near Pateley Bridge.  It takes its name from the field on which the trees are planted.  Please help us fill it with native broadleaf trees…

For just £10 we’ll dedicate a sapling on your behalf.  It’s a unique gift that will grow and grow – the perfect way to celebrate a birth, wedding or other occassion, or to remember the life of someone special.

Please help us to make it a woodland full of wonderful memories and good wishes by dedicating your own tree today.  Call us on 015242 51002, e: or visit to donate online.

Thank you!

Ben Moor Wood

Ben Moor Wood

Feel good & Do good

Fancy a day out in the countryside?  Fancy a challenge?  Fancy making a real difference to the future of the Yorkshire Dales?  Yes?!  …Then join us on Saturday 10th September for our 2011 sponsored ‘Walk for the Dales’!

Walk for the Dales

It’ll be a fun day out in the beautiful unspoilt scenery of Swaledale in the north of the Yorkshire Dales, with a serious aim – to raise money to support projects that are vital to the well-being of the Yorkshire Dales.

We’ll be meeting at 10am in the pretty village of Muker in Swaledale, and we really hope you can join us.  There’ll be two routes to choose from: a fairly easy riverside walk, or a more challenging route over Kisdon Fell.

So grab a friend, a packed lunch and your boots, and join us to make a real difference to the Dales.  Find out more at:

Dales Meadows are Buzzing with Life

Earlier this month I was invited to join Tanya St. Pierre – YDMT’s Flowers of the Dales Project Officer – and a group of bumblebee enthusiasts at the foot of Ingleborough for a Bumblebee Identification course.  I’m a keen gardener and allotment holder, and I get really excited when I see bees and other insects enjoying my plants as much as me, so I happily accepted the invitation…

This free event (part of the 2011 Flowers of the Dales Festival) was attended by eight people who were all keen to learn about the anatomy, life cycle, habitats and foraging habits of bumblebees, as well as how to identify the different species of bumblebee that are commonly encountered in the Dales.

After a classroom-based presentation by Tanya, including hints and tips of how to identify species ‘in the field’, we headed out into the wildflower hay meadows at Colt Park near Ribblehead equipped with bumblebee identification guides. This Natural England site (part of the Ingleborough Site of Special Scientific Interest) is an excellent place to see bumblebees foraging for nectar amongst the wide variety of native wildflowers growing in the traditionally managed hay meadows – a rare but crucial habitat for bumblebees.

Once in the meadows, we kept attempted to catch any passing bumblebees in special nets and then hold them briefly(!) in glass jars so we could examine the size, shape and colour to identify the species before releasing them. 

Examining a Bumblebee

Examining a Bumblebee

We successfully identified examples of three of the ‘Big Six’ (the most common) species by the end of the day – the common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum), the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum), and the garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum).

Download your free bumblebee identification guide here.

Tony King, one of the poeple on the course, commented “I now love bees!” while his wife Margaret added “I hope that events like this and the Flowers of the Dales Festival will continue. I think it is superb that organisations have come together with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to provide a single comprehensive and user-friendly guide to all the events taking place in the Dales.”

We also learnt how these hard-working and dependable pollinators have been struggling in recent years due to a loss of suitable habitats such as hedgerows and hay meadows. If this loss of habitat continues, bees will also decline as the nectar sources available to them diminish. With fewer bees in the countryside, less pollination of wild plants will occur, further reducing the amount of bee-friendly habitat remaining.

YDMT is working hard to stop this vicious circle through our Hay Time project which is working to help restore meadows in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park that have lost some of their botanical diversity as a result of being managed intensively. It works by harvesting seed from species-rich ‘donor’ meadows and spreading it on nearby ‘receptor’ meadows. By the end of the summer over 200 hectares of degraded meadow will have had seed added to them and their management improved through the project.



Tanya finished off the day by giving advice about how everyone could make difference to the future of bumblebees by growing garden plants that provide a ready supply of nectar throughout the seasons. In general, traditional native cottage garden plants provide an excellent source of nectar, species including foxglove, bluebell, aquilegia, lupin and lavender as well as many herbs. I bought a new lavendar plant this weekend and it has been covered in bees since!

Tanya is delighted with the on-going success of the Festival. She says, “In uncertain economic times hopefully the Festival is doing its bit to promote local events and organisations and to provide enjoyable activities that are accessible to everyone. With more than 40 events still to take place between now and October, there’s hopefully something for everyone to enjoy.”

I can highly recommend the Festival events – they provide an excellent day out and the opportunity to explore something new.

Bumblebee enthusiasts learn with Tanya St. Pierre

Bumblebee enthusiasts learn with Tanya St. Pierre

The events are run by a wide range of organisations and individuals, each an expert in their field, and offer a great insight into wildflower habitats. The Clapham–based charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is co-ordinating the Festival to bring together this series of fun and informative events designed to encourage people to explore and enjoy the Dales landscape.

The full Festival programme is available online now. Or to receive a copy by post please send an A5 stamped self-addressed envelope (36p postage) to Flowers of the Dales Festival, YDMT, Old Post Office, Main Street, Clapham LA2 8DP. A free copy of the programme is also available from all visitor centres in the area.

YDMT bid wins €30,000

You may recall that, back in March, we were asking you to support our bid for a €30,000 from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA)….

Well, the results have just been announced and I’m delighted to be able to confirm that – with your help – we won the public vote (with 45% of the votes) and secured this crucial funding boost!!  Thank you to everyone who voted for our project!

We will be working closely with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to deliver our winning project which aims to help the area’s fragile ecosystem by restoring a section of the footpath network near Pen y ghent which has become badly eroded over the years as topsoil has been washed away, causing significant damage to internationally-important peat habitat. 

With the help of this money an alternative, sustainable route over Whitber Hill will be developed.

Walking on Pen y ghent

Our winning bid was submitted by YDMT Projects Development Officer Don Gamble, who said: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear that we had won the funding.  We knew we had a truly deserving project up our sleeves with the restoration and maintenance of part of the iconic Three Peaks route, but we have been blown away by the level of support our bid received in the public vote – thank you!   It’s wonderful to know that the public love the Three Peaks as much as we do.  The work that the €30,000 grant will pay for will really make a difference to people’s enjoyment of the route.”

Tanya Bascombe, General Manager of European Outdoor Conservation Association, said: “We were very impressed by the Three Peaks bid submitted by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. The project sailed through the initial stages to become one of the four projects in the final UK public vote.  The project clearly also resonated with the readers of Trail magazine and the general public as people voted in their thousands and YDMT’s bid led the poll from the outset. We are confident that this €30,000 grant will make a huge difference to the future of this iconic and ever-popular route, and hope that generations to come will enjoy the benefits of the work we have made possible.”


We had a very exciting day yesterday when we met up with BBC’s Countryfile team who were filming in the Yorkshire Dales for a piece to appear on the programme on Sunday 24th July.  We even got to spend the day with BBC presenter and plant enthusiast James WongWatch our 7 minutes of fame here.

The camerman getting some lovely Meadowsweet shots

The camerman getting some lovely Meadowsweet shots

The focus of the day was species-rich hay meadows, and we headed to Colt Park – a Natural England site which forms part of the Ingleborough Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  It is one of the best places to see a whole range of meadow habitats and species which are strongly influenced by the underlying geology.

The morning was spent with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of ten-year-olds from Bainbridge Primary School who were at Colt Park to learn more about the meadows and the wildlife they support user the expert tuition of  YDMT’s Tanya St. Pierre.  The camera crew filmed proceedings as the children got stuck in identifying and counting the plant species to carry out a mini meadow survey.

Identifying Flower Species

Identifying Flower Species

Traditionally managed meadows such as the ones at Colt Park can support up to 150 different plant species which in turn provide important nesting sites and food sources for a diverse range of invertebrates, bats, mammals and birds.

Over the last fifty years or so, around 98% of meadows in the UK have been lost, largely due to modern, intensive farming methods.  The Yorkshire Dales still have some of the best hay meadows in the UK, but they need a helping hand to restablish a strong-hold.  That’s why in 2006 YDMT set up the pioneering Hay Time project which works to protect and restore these magnificent flowery hay meadows of the Dales.  It works by harvesting seed from species-rich ‘donor’ meadows and spreading it on nearby ‘receptor’ meadows.

We had hoped to demonstrate seed collection using a vacuum technique, but unfortunately the wet weather meant that this wasn’t possible (the vacuum machines don’t work well in the rain, and the seed was all wet and stuck together).

However, despite the rain we had suprisingly good results with the sweep net, which we brushed through the plants to collect all kinds of insects which could be identified and then returned to the meadow.

YDMT's Tanya St. Pierre with BBC presenter James Wong, inspecting the sweep net haul

YDMT's Tanya St. Pierre with BBC presenter James Wong, inspecting the sweep net haul

We then headed to the farm of Nick Townley near Ingleton.  Nick has worked with us on the Hay Time project in previous years, receiving seed collected by YDMT from donor meadows which was spread onto his prepared land.  We took the BBC crew to meet Nick and to see how his improved meadows are coming along.

James Wong meets farmer Nick Townley

James Wong meets farmer Nick Townley

If you didn’t manage to tune in to Countryfile on Sunday 24th July, you can watch our seven minutes of fame here: 

Woodland Open Days

Yesterday we held an open day offering you the opportunity to visit Lamberts Wood – our newly planted supporter woodland at Aysgarth.

Planted in March 2009, Lamberts Wood covers an area of 1.5 hectares, split across three areas.  A total of 1625 native broadleaf trees have been planted, approximately 40% Hazel, 20% Ash, 10% Hawthorn, 10% Bird Cherry, 5% Blackthron, 5% Holly, 5% Rowan and 5% Sessile Oak.

Admiring the young saplings

As well as being native to the area, Hazel trees provide an excellent food source for native dormice.  Due to the near extinction of dormice, a re-introduction project started in 2008 in an ajacent woodland (Freeholders Wood) with 35 captive dormice being released.  The project has proved to be very successful; a count 1 year later found the population had grown to 58 dormice.  It is hoped that the planting of Lamberts Wood will help support the increasing dormouse population.  You can find out more about the woodland on our website.

Thanks to everyone that joined us yesterday – it was great to meet you and have a good chat.  We hope you enjoyed it.

One day this tree will cast a lovely dappled shade for suny days like this one

Don’t worry if you missed it – we’ll be there from 10am until 4pm this Saturday 2nd July.  It’s a chance for you to see this  young woodland for yourself, meet the team, and learn more about YDMT’s woodland regeneration project.

If you’re thinking of joining us on Saturday, please email or call us for directions: e: or call 015242 51002.

New native broadleaf tree