News: January 2021

Happy New Year from Sustainable Swaledale!

This month’s newsletter covers climate change, dark skies festival, food and gardening, planning, together for trees and wild flowers.

Our plans for various outside activities remain on hold for the moment, but planning continues in the background.

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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Climate change

Sustainable Swaledale members took part in a call on 16th December 2020 with Valerie Adams (RDC Climate Change Officer), RDC Council members and representatives from other local sustainability groups, to discuss RDC’s plans to tackle climate change. The council is now keen to establish a network of people who can contribute to the work that needs to be done.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in becoming involved in helping to devise the council action plan, and has the relevant skills or knowledge and adequate time to contribute, please contact us using the contact form on the website. 

The BBC Reith Lectures in December 2020 were given by Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England and one of the world’s most influential bankers. The final lecture in the series was entitled ‘From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity’ and within it, Mark Carney suggested that we could all help to push the climate agenda further up the agenda for businesses by asking a number of questions: 

  • Does your employer (if a company) have a net zero plan
  • Are your savings being managed towards net zero
  • Does the government require companies to have net zero plans? 

Find out more in the blog post: The Reith (Reeth?) Lectures 2020

Dark sky reserve bid success

Having been successful in their bid to become an International Dark Sky Reserve, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks have jointly launched a virtual Dark Skies Festival 12-28 February 2021 to celebrate the night sky. All events are free but need to be booked. Details are available at:

Paul Clark, who gave an excellent fund raising talk at Low Row Institute last year on the Swaledale night sky, is speaking on the 24th February.  Join him for a “tour of the region with images taken around Swaledale that celebrate not only the fantastic starry skies but also nocturnal wildlife and industrial heritage”. Book your place at:

Food and gardening

Check out this month’s blog: January in the vegetable garden for activities that can be undertaken in January including advice on early sowing and how to plant  bare rooted fruit trees.

The beds in the Incredible Edible plot down at the Doctor’s Surgery in Reeth have been tidied up and now got some summer and autumn fruiting raspberry canes and gooseberry bushes planted. As mentioned in the gardening blog, a James Grieve apple tree has been planted in the back lawn and some signage put up at the Surgery door directing people to the beds, where there is a further sign attached to one of the raised beds.  


Future housing provision is the topic of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s third consultation about the new Local Plan covering 2023-2040.  The Park Authority proposes that sustainable development is best concentrated around the service towns of Sedbergh, Grassington and Hawes with limited infill elsewhere. Under this proposal  Reeth, which is currently designated as a service centre, would  be redesignated as a large village along with Grinton; Gunnerside; Hudswell; Langthwaite; Low Row and Feetham; and Muker.

The YDNPA is  also seeking feedback on the continuing viability of currently designated development sites, and issuing a call for proposals for new sites.  

Letters inviting responses have been sent to over 400 organisations including Parish Councils but this is your chance to influence housing provision in Reeth and around Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. 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

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has won funding for a community-oriented tree planting project, ‘Together for Trees’. They will work with four voluntary community groups around the Dales including Sustainable Swaledale. 

The project seeks to build community skills and capability by supporting small-scale tree planting projects aimed at enhancing biodiversity, carbon retention and landscape value.

The actual planting is likely to happen towards the end of 2021, but the Trust is keen that we start planning now. Sustainable Swaledale is trying to gauge interest so would love to hear from you if 

  • You are able to put some time into the project (from a half day to a longer term involvement)
  • Interested, in practical planting work, broader planning or surveying etc
  • If you have any land that could be used for tree planting (it needn’t be big – ‘corner of a field’ sized plots are just fine)?

Please contact us via the Sustainable Swaledale website.

Wild flowers

Muker’s wild flower meadows got a mention on Radio 4’s Today programme on 19th January.  Follow the link to listen: (login required for BBC sounds).

Group Meeting & AGM

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

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