News: April 2021

Buses, climate change, dark skies, gardening, Lembas group buying scheme, natural flood management schemes, recycling, right to repair, Richmondshire Energy Ambassadors, swifts and swallows, trees.

Here are a few quick updates on what we’re up to…if you’re on Facebook, please join our group and get involved in the conversations.

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The CPRE is campaigning for better bus services for rural areas.  If you visit their website: Buses for every community: write to your councillors, you can find a standard online letter. Simply enter your name and address and the website will locate the details of the appropriate councillors. You can choose to customise the standard letter or send it as it is. 

Climate change

The Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership was launched on 24th March 2021 with the stated aims of:  Richmondshire District Council becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and helping organisations/communities to achieve similar targets within the same timeframe. It currently has 50-60 members from a wide range of backgrounds including members of Sustainable Swaledale Group.  The partnership is still looking for people with enthusiasm and ideally expertise to join. If interested, please contact for more information.

Source : Richmondshire Today article

Dark skies

CPRE asked people to look at the sky in February and record the number of stars seen in Orion. The results have now been crunched and more people were able to see more stars than in 2020.  51% of star-spotters said that they could see only 10 or fewer stars, indicating severe light pollution (compared with 61% in 2020) and 5% reported seeing 30 stars or more – truly dark skies. Swaledale, which now has official dark sky reserve status,  is recorded as having some light pollution (16-20 stars). More information is available on the CPRE website.


Increase the number of bees and insects your lawn supports by not mowing the grass during May when lots of flowers are producing nectar.  Use the time saved to record the (larger) number of flowers in your lawn as part of Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey, running this year between 22-31 May. Plantlife recommends that rather than cut all the lawn short,  you leave some patches with longer grass to allow some of the taller plants to flower  – known as a mohican cut. Follow Mow Free May with Let it Bloom June. 

There is much discussion on the benefits of rewilding and you don’t need a lot of land to make a difference. Check out this handy guide on rewilding your garden by Little Green Space.

Lembas group buying group

A Lembas wholefood buying group operates in Swaledale, putting in an order every six weeks.  The aim of the buying group is to facilitate access to a wider range of goods than are easily found locally. The orders are coordinated by volunteers who also sort the goods on arrival at the Two Dales Bakery in Reeth, where they are kept for same/next day collection or locally delivered.

As a wholesaler, Lembas requires items to be purchased in bulk so we are now trialling an opportunity to offer a split. If you only want 6 tins of tomatoes and the minimum order is 12, you can now ask if someone else is interested in the other 6 tins.  

If interested or want further information,  please contact Hannah at the bakery: Check out the full range of products available on the Lembas website.

Natural flood management schemes - leaky dams and scrapes

The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust is running a number of natural flood management (NFM) projects at the moment and is just about to start a project in Arkengarthdale involving several local landowners. Further information is available in their newsletter  (linked via the Sustainable Swaledale Facebook page).

There may be opportunities for community engagement/volunteering, according to the Trust’s Senior Catchment Partnership Officer.

Recycling - the Richmond recycler

Cat D’Arcy, the Richmond bases recycler, has posted information on what she recycles on the Sustainable Swaledale Facebook page.  

Right to repair and improved energy efficiency labelling

A BBC article reports that the government hopes legislation to force suppliers to provide spare parts will come in this summer. Manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers. It is estimated that the ability to repair some appliances could increase longevity by up to 10 years. 

New energy labels for appliances will also come in replacing the current system. Items will be graded A to G with the highest efficiency grading likely to be awarded to fewer items.

Richmondshire Energy Ambassadors

Courtesy of Yorkshire Energy Doctor, Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership is pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for training as an Energy Ambassador. Eight places are available for training which will take place over three days in May (7th,14th and 28th for four hours on each day). Upon completion, delegates will be suitably skilled to provide advice to fellow residents on improving the energy efficiency of their homes. To start with, we are hoping to place ambassadors in Richmond, Reeth, Leyburn, and Catterick. The course is free, and if you are interested in participating, please contact us on

Swifts and swallows

Sustainable Swaledale is launching a five-year ‘Swifts and Swallows of Swaledale’ project. Before it launches, we’d like help collecting some baseline data about this year’s arrivals, so if you’ve seen any of these species, please help us out by completing this form. Please record your first and subsequent distinct sightings. The input we get now will help shape the project when it launches. More information can be found on the Sustainable Swaledale website.

If you haven’t already seen Sam Barden’s excellent article on swifts and swallows and Rachel Antill’s artwork on the cover of the April Reeth Gazette, you can see them online.

Stop press: 14/4/2021: the first swallow and sand martin have already been seen in Swaledale and logged. Do remember to log your own first sightings.  Who will be first to log a swift?


Rowleth wood was cleared of over 1,000 tree guards by a number of small groups of volunteers over the Easter weekend.

Rachel was able to arrange through a contact for all the collected tubes and ties to be taken for recycling into garden furniture. The wooden stakes were mostly piled up to make bug hotels. We will have to wait now until autumn when the ground bird nesting season is over before we can remove the remaining tree guards. The Scouts also plan to do some clearance. 

The work was made possible thanks to the kind permission and support of the Low Row Pasture Committee and Reeth Estate. Watch out for an article in the May Gazette (available online after 1st May) with some nice before and after pictures. 

Sue Cross from Reeth and Write wrote a rather magnificent poem after the event of which this is just an extract:

Trapped by this plastic
For so many years
The sun then came out
Cos it heard the cheers
It felt our relief 
It shone on our leaves
As we broke free
From the plastic sleeves 
A couple of hours
That’s all that was needed
And now we can grow
We’re no longer impeded

The Together for Trees project has kicked off and so far 14 possible sites have been identified at locations in Hurst, Langthwaite, Reeth, Low Row, Crackpot and Whitaside. The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) staff have visited some sites and will visit the rest towards the end of April. If sites are accepted, paperwork will be completed and sites fenced (if needed) over the summer, with tree planting towards the end of the year. We have already exceeded the YDMT’s expectations but if anyone is interested please contact

Core Group Meeting

The May meeting will take place on 6 May  at 7.30pm – please get in touch if you’d like to join us on Zoom.

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