School help design show garden

Earlier this week we spent an exciting morning with some of the lovely pupils at Bainbridge Church of England Primary School and award-winning garden designer Chris Myers. The youngsters, aged 7-9, have very kindly agreed to help us plan and design a mini ‘Pocket Garden’ full of spring wildflowers native to the Yorkshire Dales to display at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show in April.

Together we aim to create a riot of colour and texture in a plot just one metre square. Despite the small scale, we are aiming big and hope to distil the essence of beautiful spring wildflower habitats into this miniature garden.

Tanya St. Pierre, Flowers of the Dales Project Officer at YDMT, taught the children about the incredible variety of common, not-so-common and rare wildflowers that can be found in the Dales in springtime in habitats ranging from ancient woodlands to species-rich hay meadows, and the insects and animals that depend on them.

The children were then set the task of choosing their nine favourite species which will form the basis of the Pocket Garden. Once the votes were in Chris Myers presented the ‘Plant Oscars’!

And the winner is ....!

And the winner is ….!

And the winner is…!
Leading by a country mile, the most popular plants as chosen by the pupils of Bainbridge Primary School were: Lily of the Valley, Lords and Ladies and Bluebell in the woodland habitat; White Deadnettle, Field Forget-me-not and Cuckoo flower from the grassland habitat; and Coltsfoot, Wild Strawberry and Bugle in the adaptable species category.

The children considered factors including colour, height and foliage when choosing their favourite species, with many also voting for species special to the Yorkshire Dales like Lily of the Valley.

More unusual reasons for voting included the gruesome insect-eating habit of Lords and Ladies, the tasty edible fruits produced by Wild Strawberries, the exotic look of White Deadnettle. The colour and texture of Coltsfoot made it a winner, reminding one child of a furry bumblebee and another of a lion’s mane!



Having selected the key plant species that will feature in the spring garden, the children received some expert tips on garden design from Chris Myers, and are now developing their own design ideas for the plot from which Chris will choose a final design.

Tanya said: “We’re really excited to be working with Chris and the teachers and pupils at Bainbridge Primary School on this project. As well as being beautiful to look at, wildflowers provide nectar and pollen for threatened bumblebees and other pollinators right through from spring to autumn, so they provide enormous wildlife benefits.”

David Moore, Assistant Headteacher at Bainbridge Primary School, commented: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn about the wildflowers that are around them and see their designs and ideas come to fruition for display at a highly prestigious public event.”

Chris Myers said: “We are so lucky to have the Dales as our backyard. The wildflowers found there constantly wow me and are such an important part of this stunning environment. I’m so pleased to be involved with the YDMT pocket garden, supporting the natural beauty we all love and helping the kids of Bainbridge School learn about and celebrate the flowers of the Dales.”

Chris Myers gives a garden design masterclass

Chris Myers gives a garden design masterclass



Rural trainees prepare for extreme conditions

This week our Dales Rural Trainees completed a special training and team-building event, specifically designed to help prepare them for some of the extreme outdoor situations that they may face when working in the Yorkshire Dales landscape.  I tagged along to see how they got on…

Through their hand-on apprenticeships with employers across the Yorkshire Dales, the trainees often spend much of their time working in remote locations and extreme conditions.

To help them cope with this unforgiving environment we commissioned a bespoke ‘Mountain Rescue Scenario’ training event to teach the 18-24 year olds some important skills including map reading and navigation, competent use of specialist outdoor equipment and basic first aid training, as well as team working, leadership, delegation and communication skills.

The Dales Rural Trainees 'rescue' YDMT's Jo Boulter!

The Dales Rural Trainees ‘rescue’ YDMT’s Jo Boulter!

This extraordinary training event was delivered free of charge by Stainforth-based Yorkshire Dales Guides, who are a partner in ‘Do it in the Dales’.

Dave Gallivan of Yorkshire Dales Guides said: “Collectively the instructors delivering today’s training have 99 years’ experience in mountain rescue. It’s brilliant to be able to pass on some of that experience to these young people who are working outdoors.”

The trainees brush up on their map reading skills

The trainees brush up on their map reading skills

The trainees themselves had a great time.  Sam Allsopp is an apprentice with Conservefor, the rural contractors and consultants based in Rathmell near Settle.  When I asked him about the day he said: “It was a very useful and exciting training event, teaching us lots of different skills such as first aid. It was also fun to meet the other trainees that are taking part in the project and to hear about their roles.”

Jo Boulter, Dales Rural Trainee Scheme project officer here at YDMT, added: “This exciting training event was very effective, providing the trainees with the necessary skills and confidence to cope with working in the demanding terrain and unpredictable weather of the Yorkshire Dales. We’re very grateful to Yorkshire Dales Guides for so kindly supporting this project by donating their time and providing such high quality training.”

The trainees 'rescue' YDMT's Jo Boulter from a 'dangerous accident' by the riverside!

The trainees ‘rescue’ YDMT’s Jo Boulter from a ‘dangerous accident’ by the riverside!

And what did I think? …Well it’s fair to say that this is certainly the most exciting and memorable training event I’ve ever been involved in, providing a unique ‘break-out’ day for our team of apprentices.  If your business is looking for an engaging and effective team-building activity I can highly recommend this as a great alternative to the, often lacklustre, hotel-based training events you might have experienced in the past!

The Dales Rural Trainee Scheme is providing 10 young people with potentially life-changing opportunities to gain the qualifications, experience and rural skills needed to manage the Yorkshire Dales landscape sensitively and sustainably. This project has been made possible thanks to generous financial support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Lord Swinton’s Charitable Trust, Yorkshire Agricultural Society and players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We’d like to say a huge thank you for all this vital support.

Thanks also to Steve Finch Photography for kindly supplying all the lovely photographs featured above.

By Sarah Brewer, Marketing & Fundraising Officer at YDMT.

Welcome to the wonderful Pcounter Wood!

We’re delighted to welcome Altman Integrated Technologies Ltd (AIT) on board with our woodland restoration project!

AIT is a Leeds-based provider of print and copy management solutions. Their ingenious ‘Pcounter’ software helps organisations across the country minimise their environmental impact by reducing their paper, ink and toner usage and waste, thereby helping to create greener and more efficient work places.

Now AIT are taking things a step further by working with us to help protect and enhance the environment and local Yorkshire Dales landscape by supporting our tree planting programme with a generous donation.

An area of recently planted native broadleaf woodland on the Bolton Abbey estate near Skipton has been named the ‘Pcounter Wood’, and one tree will be dedicated in this special young woodland on behalf of each of AIT’s clients purchasing Pcounter software updates, support and maintenance.

L-R: Liz Marshall from AIT with Lindsay Wallace and Sarah Brewer from YDMT at the new woodland

L-R: Liz Marshall from AIT with Lindsay Wallace and Sarah Brewer from YDMT at the new woodland

Alan Christie, Business Development Director at AIT said: “As many companies struggle to improve their carbon footprint and really do ‘their bit’ for the environment, this is a new and innovative way that Pcounter customers can easily improve their commitment to the environment for the better. We are delighted to be able to work with YDMT on this project which is supporting one of the most beautiful areas of the UK”.

Chris Lodge, Woodland Officer here at YDMT, added: “We are very happy to be working with the team at AIT who share our passion for trees and the environment. By dedicating a tree for each of their customers in this young woodland AIT are playing a crucial role in restoring broadleaf woodlands in the Yorkshire Dales for future generations. We’d like to thank AIT and all their customers for kindly supporting this work”.

Find out more on the AIT website.

Bishop’s retirement gift supports Hay Time

Janet Rawlins, a talented local artist and long standing supporter of the Trust, was recently commissioned by the Archdeacon of Leeds to create a fabric collage inspired by the Yorkshire Dales.  Entitled ‘Towards Hawes’, the artwork was to be a surprise gift for the former Bishop of Ripon and Leeds to commemorate his retirement on 4 January 2014.

The beautiful finished collage was very well received by the Bishop, who was particularly delighted to see that some of his official purple shirt had been ingeniously incorporated into the piece!

Janet's collage entitled 'Towards Hawes'

Janet’s collage entitled ‘Towards Hawes’

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Janet for her kindness in donating her fee for the piece to YDMT to support our Hay Time project which aims to protect and restore wildflower hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas. The very generous contribution of £625 will make a huge difference to the project.

We’d also like to wish the recently retired Bishop all the very best for the future.

You can find out more about the Hay Time Appeal here.

Charity Lottery Support for the Dales tops £400,000!

We are delighted to confirm the ongoing support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery following a recent lottery grant of £24,000, bringing the grand total awarded to YDMT by the charity lottery to an incredible £401,332 over the last five years.

This ongoing support from players enables us to work with partners to help deliver a wide range of projects to safeguard this special part of the world for future generations, from restoring threatened wildlife habitats, to offering life-changing rural apprenticeships for young local people.

People's Postcode Lottery

Novamedia, the parent company of People’s Postcode Lottery, has just been announced as the world’s second largest private charity donor, having awarded £441 million to charitable causes across the world in 2013 (second only to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).

This funding plays a vital role in helping countless charities to continue their valuable work.  Here at YDMT this crucial support is invested in a wide range of projects to support and care for all aspects of life in the Yorkshire Dales.

Kate Pearson, Trusts Manager at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust are a fantastic organisation and over the past five years it has been a pleasure to see them grow. I would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery supporting this great charity.”

As 45p from every £2 ticket goes direct to good causes, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £34.3 million in total for good causes across Great Britain since the launch of the charity lottery in 2008.



David Sharrod, Director of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to all players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support. Having raised in excess of £400,000 for the Trust – an incredible total! – players have enabled us to support hundreds of worthwhile projects and inspirational community groups across the Yorkshire Dales. These initiatives really make a difference to the region, with projects including education and outreach, habitat conservation and restoration, and apprenticeship schemes for young people to name just a few.”

Green Links continue between Bradford and the Dales

Green Links

In a small Quaker meeting house in Malhamdale, a group of Muslim women from Bradford and women from Malhamdale were, for the second year running, spending a day together having fun whilst making Christingles in preparation for the Christingle service the following day.

This is an initiative which has grown out of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s outreach programme ‘People and the DALES’ which has impacted on the lives of over 4000 people since it began in 2009 thanks to funding from  Natural England’s Access to Nature programme (£197,000 was awarded as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s
Changing Spaces programme).

Making Christingles

Making Christingles

It may all seem a little incongruous, but it is just one of a number of creative activities that have taken place thanks to the enthusiasm and determination of a small group of women in Malhamdale and a similar group in Bradford who are keen to learn first-hand about the lives that each community lives.

Christingle-making introduces the women from Bradford to the traditions of Christmas in a rural, white community and in turn they explain the customs of their own religious celebrations. Last year this same group of women spent a day in Bradford, visiting an Asian bazaar and taking a tour of a local mosque, as well as attending a retreat weekend together in a bunk barn in the Yorkshire Dales.

Through the project friendships have developed between the members of the two communities and along the way there has been a lot of fun and laughter, none more so than whilst carol singing in the church in Kirkby Malham when a few Dales women confused friends from Bradford with a high descant rendition to ‘Hark the Herald’!

Festive fun!

Festive fun!