Alleluia! £1.5k raised for YDMT

A glowing review of last week’s hugely successful fundraising concert, courtesy of Andrew Campbell – a YDMT Trustee and one of the 140+ people in the audience on the night…

Last Saturday evening (14th May) my wife and I, together with an almost packed audience, very much enjoyed the choral and instrumental concert entitled ‘Alleluia’ staged at Bolton Abbey Priory Church in aid of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

The choir, Cantores Salicium, conducted by director Lindy Williams, was quite superb and together with five young instrumentalists, reached extraordinary heights of professionalism in performing a very stimulating and diverse programme.


It included pieces from William Byrd, Henry Purcell and Georg Handel, more modern Japanese and Brazilian works played on a marimba, and a setting of Psalm 121 by the choir’s president Nicholas O’Neill. Entitled ‘Levavi oculos’, this new composition is the first work to be specially commissioned for the choir. The length of the applause at the conclusion was a testament to their skill.

Surely there can be few more beautiful venues than the Priory for such an event with its magnificent acoustics and inspiring architecture. I urge that all who have the chance, go and see Cantores Salicium perform, they were fabulous!

Cantores Salicium, by Steve Finch

Cantores Salicium. Photo by Steve Finch Photography.


Almost £1500 was raised for YDMT to support a range of projects that care for the landscape, environment, economy and communities of the Yorkshire Dales.

We would like to thank the very talented choir members and musicians, Bolton Abbey Priory Church and everyone in the audience who helped to make the event such a success.

Cantores Salicium’s future performance dates:

Sunday 16 October 2016 – Concert, venue to be confirmed.
Sunday 11 December 2016 – Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Settle Parish Church.
Sunday 9 April 2017 – Palm Sunday service of music and readings, Bolton Abbey Priory Church.

Find out more at: www.cantores‐

Down on the Farm

Agriculture students from across the world – including Malaysia, Russia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Botswana, Spain, Finland and the UK – joined us to learn about farming techniques in the Yorkshire Dales.

45 under-graduates from Reading University spent time with farmer Rodney Beresford and his flock of sheep, getting hands-on experience assisting with herding, tagging and marking new-born lambs at the foot of Ingleborough.


The students also met Colin Newlands of Natural England and learnt about the re-wilding of the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve and the challenges of managing the land responsibly to achieve a sustainable balance between people, biodiversity and profitable farming.


Melanie, a PhD student from Manchester Uni who is conducting trials on the Reserve, told the group about her research into the impact of different types of livestock grazing on soil quality and carbon sequestration. This led to an interesting discussion about the possible implications for farming in the future.

Their Yorkshire Dales visit was rounded off with a trip to Keasden Head farm near Clapham, where the students heard about the embryo transfer and artificial insemination programme that Sheila Mason runs on the farm.

This is the second year that YDMT have arranged a study visit for Reading University students. Lecturer Yiorgos Gadanakis said “It has been fantastic again – it is one of the best visits of the year as the students can get stuck in and actually do something practical. It is useful to walk around the farms and to see the impact of the land and the local environment on farming.”


Judy Rogers, YDMT’s ‘Ingleborough for All’ project officer, arranged the study visit with the aim of showcasing some of the different farming systems found in the Yorkshire Dales. Judy said: “It has been an opportunity to show the next generation of our land custodians some different farming techniques that ensuring a positive impact on the landscape. We also had some really interesting discussions, from biodiversity, diversification and subsidies, to EU membership and managing pests and diseases.”


Ingleborough for All is part of Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of community and heritage projects that has been developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the programme will enable people from all backgrounds and of all ages to learn about, enjoy and help manage the stunning limestone landscape around Ingleborough, both above and below ground.

Meadows on More4!

Last summer Sarah Robinson, our Bowland Hay Time Officer, was filmed for a new TV programme, talking about species-rich hay meadows and the work we do to protect them. And this week we’ll get our first glimpse of her in action on More4’s Discovering Britain programme. Catch the meadows on More4 tonight, Wednesday 10th Feb, at 9pm!

Larry Lamb talks meadows with YDMT's Sarah Robinson for More4's Discovering Britain

Larry Lamb talks meadows with YDMT’s Sarah Robinson on More4’s Discovering Britain Wed 10th Feb 9pm

Discovering Britain is described as a celebration of Britain’s outdoors, its history, culture & tradition. So, what better place to be than a romantic, wildflower strewn hay meadow?

On a remarkably beautiful day last summer Sarah and I met with the film crew and presenter Larry Lamb (who you’ll recognise from EastEnders and Gavin & Stacey) and off we went in convoy to Bell Sykes Farm near Slaidburn. The ancient hay meadows here are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of the wide variety of meadow species they contain. Major loss, fragmentation and deterioration of these habitats means that usually only small isolated areas remain. What makes Bell Sykes particularly special is that here it’s still possible to be entirely surrounded by one of the rarest habitats in England.

Sarah is obviously a regular at Bell Sykes, but like the rest of the party it was my first visit there. It will be fantastic to see the breath-taking site of these stunning meadows on TV. However you do need to visit a wildflower meadow yourself to get the full sensory experience – including the delicate wildflower scents and amazing surround-sound of humming insects. We’ve got some great meadow walk guides to help you.

Back to the business of making a TV programme! Larry Lamb was the complete professional, and seemed genuinely fascinated by the whole hay meadow experience. Sarah explained how the richest meadows, like the ones at Bell Sykes, are of international importance – as they can support hundreds of plant species and provide vital food and nesting sites for a wide range of invertebrates, mammals and birds. It turned out that Sarah was a natural in front of the camera too. So with the glorious weather, a great crew and presenter and our own media star, we’re expecting some great TV tonight!

The SSSI meadows at Bell Sykes Farm near Slaidburn

The SSSI meadows at Bell Sykes Farm – where you can be entirely surrounded by one of the rarest habitats in England.

We hope tonight’s programme will open some more eyes to the beauty of our species-rich meadows, and help people to understand why we need to protect and restore the few remaining meadows. You can find out more about how we’re helping to protect threatened hay meadow habitats through the Hay Time project.

Highlights of 2015

I’d like to say a big Thank You to the many individuals, businesses and partner organisations that have provided expertise, enthusiasm and financial support to help make our work possible over the last twelve months.

The landscape, environment and communities of the Yorkshire Dales are at the heart of our work, and I am delighted to say that we’ll be launching a new community grant fund in 2016 to support local people, organisations and initiatives, as well as continuing our existing work.

2015 saw the tenth anniversary of our ‘People and the DALES’ project, which provides life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged community groups. Over the last decade we have brought more than 7600 people to the Yorkshire Dales to experience the health and well-being benefits of spending time in the countryside, often for the first time.

10 yr cake 

More than 7400 people took part in our annual Flowers of the Dales Festival, which this year brought together 100+ events led by experts and enthusiasts across the region. Over 30,000 people have now taken part in fun and educational events inspired by nature and wildflowers since the first Festival in 2009, and I’d like to say a big thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting this project, and many others.


Children amongst buttercups, by Anne Challis

Photo courtesy of Anne Challis

Environmental conservation has been another key focus, and with support from landowners and partners including the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and The Fuelcard Company, we have continued to restore native broadleaf woodlands across the region. More than 1.2 million new trees have been planted to date, and we are looking forward to supporting other like-minded landowners with grants for tree planting in the coming year.

And 2016 looks set to be another exciting year here at the Trust, with the tenth anniversary of wildflower hay meadow restoration through the ‘Hay Time’ project on the horizon, and several ambitious new projects in the pipeline – we’ll look forward to sharing details in due course.

Thank you.


David Sharrod
Director, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Getting Hygge in the Woods

A day in the life of a Rural Trainee…and if you fancy following in their footsteps please check out our Rural Trainee opportunities Work for Us


We recently spent a day in the woods with our Rural Trainees. As well as learning about the serious side of event planning and management – the risk assessments, landowner permissions, and health & safety – we also had lots of fun and indulged in some foodie treats, taking inspiration from all over the globe!

Sweden first, as the trainee’s chainsaw skills were put to good use to create a pair of Swedish log candles – tall logs with deep crosses cut into the top using a chainsaw, which can then be lit in the centre using wood shavings. Despite their name, apparently they may originate from Germany (from the German word “Schwedenfeuer”, meaning “Swedish fire”). Either way, these attractive centrepieces proved to be perfect for cooking and providing long-lasting warmth during our woodland adventures in the Dales.

DSC_0109 Swedish Log Candle

Swedish log candle

We had quite a competitive start to the day, as the girls and boys went head to head in the den building challenge. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the boys went all out to create the biggest and most practical and weather-proof den, whilst the girls focussed more on design and the finishing touches of their tepee-style den, including a soft bracken carpet!


Back at our ‘camp’ we cooked up a feast of sausages and baked potatoes for lunch, finished off with hot chocolate and s’mores (the traditional American campfire treat, consisting of a fire roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two biscuits).

DSC_0106 Lunch

Baking potatoes

Then back to business, and Gail Smith, Community Worker at YDMT, showed everyone how to whittle, leading to an interesting discussion about how the activity could be tailored to meet the needs and abilities of different groups, to ensure the activity is safe and rewarding for all age groups.


The group also touched on an unexpected new Scandi skill – Hygge: a heart-warming lesson from Denmark. Pronounced “hoo-ga”, it is usually translated into English as “cosiness”. I think we all need to work a bit harder on this though, as apparently it is an entire attitude to life, but we certainly felt happy, cosy, content and at one with nature in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales 😉


Read more about this story here in our official roundup of the day.


Teaching skills on the hills

Take seven amazing women, one son, two YDMT members of staff and one Instructor, put them in a hut in Selside with maps and compasses and you have all the ingredients for a fantastic weekend of fun and learning!

Hill Skills training in the Yorkshire Dales

Hill Skills training in the Yorkshire Dales

People and the DALES ran another successful two days of Hill Skills training last weekend, when an all-female group from predominantly black and minority ethnic backgrounds came to the Yorkshire Dales to learn how to map read.

Fun & laughter!

Map reading madness! 

These women all work alongside disadvantaged community groups in Bradford and Leeds and have previously enjoyed visits to the Dales through our People and the DALES outreach project. The weekend was a chance for them to learn how to plan walks, navigate and understand the equipment needed to safely enjoy a day in the hills.

Map reading & navigation.

Everyone went away with a Mountain Training England qualification and lots of memories of a weekend filled with laughter and enjoyment – not to mention the skills and confidence to enjoy the countryside safely and independently in the future.

Building the confidence & skills to use maps to access and enjoy the countryside independently.

Building the confidence & skills to use maps to access and enjoy the countryside independently.

Happy Birthday!

Hip hip hurrah! People’s Postcode Lottery has just celebrated ten fantastic years of players raising funds for charities and good causes like YDMT!

Players have now raised more than £80 million, supporting over 1,500 national and local grassroots projects. In fact over 95% of postcodes across Britain have a benefitting charity in their region.

£80m+ raised for charities so far

More than £80 Million raised for charities so far

The charity lottery is based around players’ postcodes, allowing entire communities to win together whilst raising money for worthy causes, with 27.5% awarded to charities and good causes from every £2 ticket.

PPL winners party

Winners party

Here at YDMT we are very fortunate to have received support from the charity lottery over the last six and a half years. Thanks to a recent £50,000 boost, our total amount received now stands at £651,332 – thank you!

This incredible sum of money plays a vital role in enabling us to continue working with partners to deliver a wide range of inspiring projects that help to care for all aspects of life in the Yorkshire Dales, from habitat conservation to education and outreach, and rural apprenticeship schemes for young local people.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support.