Volunteers help keep meadows blooming

Last weekend a team of volunteers from Dales Holiday Cottages donned their boots and donated their time (even the birthday girl Caroline!) to help us with the important task of restoring wildflower hay meadows in the Dales and the Forest of Bowland.

The volunteers helped to collect ripe seeds from a variety of wildflowers to propagate seedlings for nearby meadows that have lost some of their botanical diversity and wildlife value.

Catherine Smith from Dales Holiday Cottages hand collects seed that will be used to restore native wildflower species to degraded meadows

Hand collecting seed, which will be used to help re-establish certain species of wildflowers in degraded meadows

Sarah Robinson, our ‘Bowland Hay Time’ project officer said: “It was wonderful to receive a helping hand from the enthusiastic volunteers from Dales Holiday Cottages and their families when it came to collecting seed from areas unsuitable for machine harvesting. We are very grateful to Dales Holiday Cottages for their financial support which allows us to continue vital work like this to protect and enhance the countryside for people and wildlife.”

Dales Holiday Cottages, part of Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, has been a business partner of ours since 2006 and has given a total of £12,400 to date to support our work, as well as volunteering to help with projects like hay time and woodland restoration.

Managing director of Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, Geoff Cowley, said: “As a business we have strong roots in the Dales – it’s where we live and work, and every day we promote the area to others, so it’s important to protect the natural environment around us. The YDMT is carrying out vital conservation activities and the work they do in the area is invaluable.”

Seed Spotters: The dedicated team from Dales Holiday Cottages

Seed Spotters: The dedicated team from Dales Holiday Cottages

Locally sourced wildflower seed has already been added to more than 300 hectares of degraded meadows to reintroduce wildflower species and restore this important wildlife habitat.

Support from businesses is essential for projects like hay meadow restoration to continue. If you are interested in getting involved please read our website for more information www.ydmt.org/business-supporters & please get in touch.


£76k for Dales from People’s Postcode Lottery

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support, as we’ve just been awarded an incredible £76,000 to support our work across the Yorkshire Dales!

Thanks to this support we are able to continue and expand our work caring for the people, environment and communities of this special part of the world.

This vital financial support brings the grand total awarded to YDMT by the charity lottery to £377,332 – a fantastic sum of money that means so much to the team here at YDMT, and the many communities and wildlife habitats that are able to help to care for with the help of People’s Postcode Lottery.

View towards Nine Standards Rigg peak and Swaledale, by Andy Merritt

View towards Nine Standards Rigg peak and Swaledale, by Andy Merritt

Our director David Sharrod commented: “We are delighted to hear that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised another £76,000 to support the work of the Trust. This is a staggering amount of money and we are very grateful to everyone who plays for their support which helps us to deliver a wide range of projects including habitat conservation, education and outreach, access improvements and apprenticeship schemes to name just a few.”

Kate Pearson, Acting Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’re so happy to be able to support this wonderful charity yet again. It’s great that people in Yorkshire, including players of People’s Postcode Lottery, are able to benefit from the vital work they do. We see the difference they make to the lives of local people time and time again”

Lapwing now thrive at the restored wet grassland area near Settle

Lapwing now thrive at the restored wet grassland area near Settle

People’s Postcode Lottery launched in January 2008. 45p from every £2 ticket goes directly to good causes. From national charities to local good causes like us, the £29.5 million raised by players is making a huge difference to communities across Great Britain.  For more information visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk.

Thank you to all players and our friends at People’s Postcode Lottery!!!!

People's Postcode Lottery

Hay Time a hit at Gardener’s World Live!

We’re back home today after taking our little piece of the Yorkshire Dales to Birmingham NEC for BBC Gardener’s World Live last week.

What a week! On Tuesday, before the show opened to the public, our Hay Time garden – with its wildflower hay meadow, natural woodland, dry stone wall and iconic field barn – was awarded a silver gilt medal.

Hay Time awarded Silver Gilt medal

Hay Time awarded Silver Gilt medal

We thought the Hay Time garden, designed and created by our friend Chris Myers, was a masterpiece. It turns out that hundreds of people we talked to during the week agreed. In fact Gardener’s World presenter Carol Klein declared it a travesty that we didn’t get a gold medal!

Chris Myers and BBC's Carol Klein in front of the Hay Time garden

Carol Klein said the Hay Time garden deserved gold!

The Hay Time garden was a tranquil haven amongst the busy and buzzing atmosphere of the exhibition. Standing at the gate of the garden you were instantly transported to a beautifully wild Dales meadow with ox-eye daisies gently waving in the breeze, ancient moss-clad dry stone walls, hay bales peeking out from the iconic Dales field barn. The back drop was natural broadleaf woodland, complete with woodland plants, foxgloves and nettles.

Many people said the garden looked like it had been there forever, and others that it took them back to their childhood.

 The Hay Time garden - a tranquil haven in the midst of buzzing Birmingham NEC

The Hay Time garden – a tranquil haven in the midst of buzzing Birmingham NEC

The garden also proved a hit with the local wildlife. Tanya (our bee expert) spotted six different species of bee within 10 minutes of arriving at the garden – including lots of red tailed bumble bees. The reason for this was the meadow, brimming with wildflowers and grasses typical of a species-rich upland meadow in the Yorkshire Dales. Among the 30+ species of meadow flora in the garden were ragged robin, wood crane’s bill, yellow rattle, bird’s-foot-trefoil and crested dog’s tail. … a perfect habitat for pollinators.

Bumblebee feeding on wood crane's-bill

Red tailed bumblebee feeding on wood crane’s-bill

Of course there was a serious message we were trying to get across by taking the Hay Time garden to Birmingham. The vibrant wildflower hay meadows that were the source of inspiration for the garden are also in grave danger of disappearing from our countryside. 97% of UK meadows have been lost since the 1940’s, making them one of the most threatened habitats in the UK and Europe.

To continue our work to protect the precious few meadows remaining and restore degraded meadows in the Yorkshire Dales we need the public to support our Hay Time appeal by making a donation, buying wildflower seed or simply by spreading the word about hay meadows.

So far locally-harvested wildflower seed has been added to more than 300 hectares and traditional low-intensity management has been reinstated to help bring back native wildflowers and provide a vital habitat for the many rare species of wildlife they support. It’s an important first step, but more still needs to be done to safeguard these beautiful places for future generations.

Species-rich hay meadows are at risk of disappearing in the UK a threat to the hundreds of species of wildlife they support

Species-rich hay meadows are at risk of disappearing in the UK – threatening the hundreds of species of wildlife they support

As YDMT’s Hay Time project manager Don Gamble put it:

Chris and the team have captured the essence of the Yorkshire Dales in this naturalistic garden, and I think it just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune on exotic plants to achieve a beautiful display in your garden. A packet of native wildflower seeds can create stunning results, with the added bonus of being great for pollinators and other wildlife. I hope this garden encourages people to give wildflowers a go at home and to help us restore more meadows in the Dales.

Our Hay Time garden at BBC Gardeners' World Live

Our Hay Time garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Please help save meadows in the Yorkshire Dales by donating to the Hay Time Appeal. Visit www.ydmt.org/haytimeappeal or call 015242 51002.  Native wildflower seeds sourced sustainably from meadows in the North of England are also available from the YDMT website at www.ydmt.org/shop priced at £2.50 per pack including P&P.

27 miles down – only 143 to go!

Today marks the start of the YDMT Way of the Roses cycle challenge, and the team have just arrived at the YDMT office in Clapham having completed the first 27 miles of the 170 mile route!  Well done guys!

The Way of the Roses team reach Clapham - home of YDMT

The Way of the Roses team reach Clapham – home of YDMT

To top up the energy levels, we had homemade cake (courtesy of Jo!) and refreshments waiting for the team.

A well-earned rest

A well-earned rest

The cyclists set off from the start line in Morecambe at 9.30am this morning, and have now crossed the border from Lancashire back into Yorkshire.  Only 143 miles to go to the finish line in Bridlington!

The start line - Morecambe

The start line – Morecambe

…As team member Isobel Hall said: “Now the hard work really starts!”

Fortunately David Shaw is slightly more optimistic, and the promise of a pint when they reach the pub in Burnsall this evening is keeping David Sharrod going!

Passing through the leafy Crook-of-Lune scenery

Passing through the leafy Crook-of-Lune scenery

We’ll try to keep this blog up to date with progress as the challenge progresses, but you may also like to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages which we may be able to update more easily en route over the next couple of days.

Thanks to everyone who has already sponsored the team.  If you haven’t already, why not sure your support and donate online at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/ydmtroses

The Dales…from above

A blog by Gail, YDMT Community Worker

“Working out and about with groups on our People and the DALES project gives me plenty of opportunities to explore parts of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Getting up hill and down dale is both a privilege and part of the everyday.

After a number of years of the weather getting the better of me I finally got the chance to view this fabulous part of the world from a new view point, up in the air from a hot air balloon. Taking off from just outside the National Park at Burton-in-Lonsdale, we rose gently brushing the tops of trees, as the people, river and buildings below us shrank into miniature. The sensation of drifting noiselessly through the air was just incredible.


Thanks to some unseasonal sunshine we enjoyed stunning views of all three of Yorkshire’s Peaks in one go, a first for me, a glimpse of the arches of Ribblehead viaduct in the distance, views across to Morecambe Bay and the distant hills of the Lake District.


Seeing Ingleborough from a range of perspectives over the course of the hour long flight was just incredible, although our pilot was a little nervous about being drawn up and over it, it’s a steep descent on the other side!

Ingleborough from up high

Ingleborough from up high

As YDMTs home village of Clapham grew closer we came to rest with a rather hefty bump in a field near Newby! Thanking the farmer with a customary glass of champagne as the sun sank below the horizon. Perfect end to an amazing experience and a view of the Dales I’ll never forget.”