News: February 2023

Photo of stoat by Dr. Georg Wietschorke from Pixabay

Buttertubs Pass camping barn refused planning permission; Grinton Book Exchange; Land use – more than just food vs nature; Mammal Mapper; Project partners; Reeth School: oil leakage; Sustainable Swaledale Membership renewal; Together for Trees – the movie; Whashton residents supporting biodiversity; WingIt; Wonderful wool; Group Meeting 

Buttertubs Pass camping barn refused planning permission

Richmondshire Today article reports that plans to convert a barn near the bottom of Buttertubs pass into a camping barn have been refused, despite it being recognised that there is a need for low cost accommodation for active travellers and that the changes to the barn would be minimal. Concerns expressed include the visibility of the barn, the lack of parking and the difficulty of  preventing car users from using the barn. 

Grinton Book Exchange

If you like to swap books, check out the Grinton Book Exchange housed in the Grinton Literary Institute. There is a very good selection.  There is also necessarily a much smaller collection housed in the telephone box in Gunnerside.

Land use - more than just food vs nature

Podcast of an interview between Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England and Sara King of Rewilding Britain on the importance of considering multiple factors in land use rather than just focusing on the polar opposites of intensive food production or rewilding.  Listen to the podcast.

Mammal Mapper

The Mammal Mapper app which can be downloaded free from the Mammal Society. The app allows you to record signs and sightings of mammals in the UK. Mammals can be recorded along a route whilst you’re walking/running/cycling or even a passenger in a car, or as one=off sightings, for example a hedgehog in your garden, a red squirrel or a stoat. The app replaces the Mammal Tracker app which will be phased out.  Information on the app and FAQs can be found on the Mammal Society website.

Project partners

Many of our projects are dependent on support from a range of organisations, either in terms of funding or practical advice and support . We are currently receiving funding from the following bodies:

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT).  The charity works on environmental projects and encourages community engagement with the environment.  The organisation was the sponsor of the Together for Trees planting season 2021-2022 and is the current sponsor of the Local Tree Nursery project which is being run by Carol Douglas. Find out more about the YDMT’s activities on their website.

Tees Swale: naturally connected. This is a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with the aim  of collaborating with farmers and landowners across an 845 sq km area to put farming at the heart of nature and nature at the heart of land management. The main partners are the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the North Pennines AONB.   Tees Swale: naturally connected is the sponsor of the 2022-2023 Together for Trees planting season and the Meadow Magic project, through Crista Nelson. More information on the project can be found on the project website,

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) are responsible for managing the Yorkshire Dales National Park and setting out ambitions for how the National Park will be looked after over the next 5 to 10 years.  The YDNPA offer grants for projects through their Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) to support schemes that promote a more sustainable way of living in, working in and visiting the National Park, while conserving and enhancing its local culture, wildlife, landscape and communities.  Sustainable Swaledale first secured SDF funding for the Incredible Edible project at Reeth Surgery  and more recently for the WingIt project supporting swifts, swallows and martins. More information on the Sustainable Development Fund can be found on the YDNPA website. As well as funding support, we have received a lot of practical advice and support from the local YDNPA Rangers.

2023 will see  a new partnership venture with Dalesrunner, run by Simon and Jess, including race winners getting trees planted with a dedication plaque rather than medals. Look out for further information in the next few months.

We have also worked with a number of other organisations supporting their projects. Sustainable Swaledale members have helped with a number of projects on the Heggs-Castle renaturing project in Arkengarthdale – whose volunteer projects were listed by the Guardian as an  ideal no fly travel destination for January. One project involved volunteers helping the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust (YDRT) build leaky dams as part of natural flood management at the Heggs Castle cluster. The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust is a charity working to improve and protect the rivers and catchments of dales rivers by working with communities to help rivers and wildlife to thrive. More on the YDRT projects can be found on the YDRT website and information on the renaturing projects at Heggs along with blogs can be found on the Heggs-Castle website.

We have also worked with the Richmond Climate Action Partnership, which aims to bring together local communities to help address the climate change emergency. More on the work of the Richmond Climate Action Group can be found on the RCAP website

Sustainable Swaledale members are hoping to volunteer with the Yorkshire Peat Partnership (YPP) on their peatland restoration projects this year, The stated aims of the Partnership are to rewet, replant and restore all of Yorkshire’s upland peatlands needing restoration by 2035.  More on their projects including restoration of Fleet Moss can be found on YPP website.

Reeth School: oil leakage

The Environment Agency has been called in to help clear up an oil leakage at Reeth Community Primary School. Remediation work and soil testing is taking place.

Source: Richmondshire Today article 

Together for Trees – the movie

If you have seen calls for volunteers for tree planting but have not been sure what is involved, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust have released a video on their Together for Trees project which  includes Sustainable Swaledale volunteers planting a site just outside Reeth. If you would like to find out more about our volunteer activities, please email us at or and come and join in the fun.

Whashton residents improving biodiversity

Whashton Parish Meeting Committee members along with residents have been planting bulbs, fruit trees and bushes to improve pollinator opportunities and have erected bird boxes around the village green.  The work increases the attractiveness of the village and improves biodiversity. This work is the start of a bigger  Holmedale project to connect the villages with pollinator routes along footpaths in the dale.

Source: Richmondshire Today


WingIt project volunteers (Stacey, Rachel, Charlotte and Stewart) have started to survey sites for possible installation of swallow cups/swift boxes. Many thanks to Simon and Caroline for their kind donation of two swallow cups – they will be put to good use.

Wonderful wool

I have been alerted to a New Scientist article entitled  Wool: the new (old) wonder material?  The article, part of its free ‘Fix the Planet’ newsletter, looks at the need to find new markets for wool and focuses on WoolCool, an innovative company making use of  wool for  insulated packaging. The company has also expanded into using wool for horticultural moisture matting. Other possible uses include adding to concrete and reinforced materials.  The founder and CEO of WoolCool has been asked to be part of a new industry taskforce set up April 2022 by British Wool and Innovate UK looking for new uses of wool.

Sustainable Swaledale Membership renewal

We confirmed our current membership fees and structure at the February AGM .

For 2023 standard membership costs £10. For students, under 25s and people on benefits the fee remains £5. We will shortly be introducing a convenient online way to make a donation to Sustainable Swaledale so that non-members can support our activities.

The membership year runs from 1st Jan to 31 Dec. Anyone joining on or after 1st October has their membership carried forward for the following calendar year. Existing members have a three-month grace period (ie until 30th March) in which to renew their membership.

We will create  a new email group called sustainable-swaledale-members which will be for members-only communications. The existing sustainable-swaledale and sustainable-swaledale-volunteers groups will continue to be used for more general communication. Members will automatically be included in the sustainable-swaledale-members and sustainable-swaledale email groups.

If you would like to join or renew your membership you can do so by presenting cash or a cheque to either the secretary or treasurer, or by electronic payment. Please email  for the bank details.

Core Group Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 2 March at the Two Dales Bakery starting at  7pm. Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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