News: February 2021

Covered this month: dark skies festival, gardening, membership, planning, together for 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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Dark sky festival

There’s still time to book events including Paul Clark’s Swaledale Starscapes, Wednesday 24th February 7-8pm. You can  watch on Zoom by registering:

or via Facebook (no need to register):

There are lots of other events between 12th – 28th February. Check them out at:

Food and gardening

Check out this month’s blog: February in the vegetable garden  for activities that can be undertaken in the warmth including getting ahead with broad beans, leeks and potatoes by starting them indoors. There is also pruning of fruit bushes and raspberry canes to be done outside once they emerge from the snow.


Time now to renew your membership or consider joining us as a member. A sub of £5.00 helps support our projects and is the best way to ensure you are kept up to date with all the group’s activities.  Existing members will be contacted otherwise please get in touch.

The group has a moderated facebook page which anyone can join and is great for keeping up to date with issues in the news and the locality:

If you are interested in longer considered commentary on environmental and sustainable topics, the  Sustainable Swaledale website is the best place to visit: 

The site hosts a series of blogs on topics such as climate change, sustainable development and planning policies. There are also regular gardening blogs and recipes using local food.  

Our activities

Over the last year the group has 

  • Engaged with the planning process, focussing on issues of importance to the civic and environmental sustainability agenda.
  • Partnered with other local environmental groups to form the ‘Richmondshire Coalition of Climate Change Interested Parties’ and used this combined influence to hold RDC to their climate change commitments.
  • Set in motion plans to work with local agencies to enhance the wildflower cover in Swaledale.
  • Acted as the Swaledale coordinators for the ‘Together for Trees’ local community-based tree-planting project, in partnership with the YDMT.
  • Established a new community garden at the Reeth surgery, and produced a range of fresh produce for anyone to consume. 
  • Promoted local produce. 

The group is currently planning for post lockdown including

  • Communication on environmental and sustainability issues
  • Work on Reeth Surgery veg beds
  • Promoting local foods
  • Speakers and films
  • Tree guard removal
  • Tree planting as part of the Together for Trees project
  • Wild flower surveys
  • Working with RDC.

If anything here interests you, please get in touch. 


There is still time to respond to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s third consultation about the new Local Plan covering 2023-2040 which focuses on housing provision.

Comments can be submitted by post or email by 26 February. The Document is available at:  

A summary of the main implications for Swaledale is available in the following blog post: Reeth: Swaledale’s civic centre or just another village?

Together for trees

Do you have a small patch of land that could benefit from some trees?

It needn’t be big – the neglected corner of a field or a hard-to-reach strip. Sensitively planted, trees are not only good for nature, climate and flood management, they can enhance the landscape and character of an area like Swaledale where wood-pasture has long been an established feature. 

‘Together for Trees’ will provide everything needed to create native, broadleaf woodland or hedgerows plus volunteering opportunities. The priority now is to identify sites in the next few weeks, in preparation for fencing (if needed) and planting later in the year. If you’d like to discuss making some land available to the project, or are interested in helping out, please email or phone Rob on 886 381.

Core Group Meeting

The March Meeting will take place on 4th March at 7.30 – please get in touch if you’d like to join us on Zoom.

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