News: June 2024

Swaledale meadow

This month: Hedgerow legislation now law; Low Row Open Gardens raised money for Sustainable Swaledale; National Meadows Day: Ousewem; Reeth Surgery veg plots updates;  Save our Swale talk:  new date – 1 August 2024; Stop Ure Pollution; Swaledale Farming Film & Photography Festival; Tree seedlings potted into trainers: event at Hazel Brow Farm; Volunteering at Snaizeholme; WingIt project: Low Row Institute

Hedgerow legislation now law

The Management of Hedgerows (England) Regulations 2024 came into law on 23 May.  The regulations provide for a two metre ‘buffer strip’ from the centre of hedgerows with no cultivation or application of pesticides or fertilisers, and a hedge cutting ban between 1 March and 31 August to protect nesting birds. Some exceptions exist and a summary and links to further information can be found on the DEFRA website.  The legislation can be found here.

People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) are running the Great British Hedgerow survey. The survey has been designed for land managers that may want to improve the structural condition of their own hedgerows, and also for interested wildlife groups that want to assess the quality of habitat in any particular area. The survey can be done between April and October.

The data will be collected in order to give PTES a good overview of the condition of hedgerows nationally. Information available on the PTES website.

Low Row Open Gardens raised money for Sustainable Swaledale

Low Row Open Gardens took place on 29 June, with 13 gardens open to the public and refreshments and plants available at the Low Row and Feetham Institute. 

Mudd House opened its garden showcasing our meadow creation project, part of Sustainable Swaledale’s Magic Meadows project, as well as our hedging and tree groves – some of which have been planted by Sustainable Swaledale volunteers.

Charlotte and Stewart opened their garden and showcased (amongst other things) their new living roof composed of sedums. The group is very grateful to Charlotte who nominated Sustainable Swaledale as one of the recipients for the proceeds from the day and to the Low Row and Feetham Institute Committee for their generosity in sharing the proceeds with Sustainable Swaledale – around £600. The rest goes to the restoration of the Institute. Visit the Sustainable Swaledale Facebook page for photos.

National Meadows Day

Visit a local meadow on ‘National Meadows Day’ (6th July) to see the full glory of upland meadows. The Yorkshire Dales National Park contains a large proportion of the national upland hay meadow habitat, centred around Langstrothdale, Ribblesdale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Found in areas with a history of non-intensive hay-meadow management at 200-400m altitude in the upland valleys of northern England, upland hay meadows include  sweet vernal-grass, wood crane’s-bill, pignut, great burnet and lady`s mantle. The meadows provide an important feeding habitat for a wide range of bird and insect life.

Good examples can be found at Gunnerside Bottoms, the Muker Meadows and Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve. Check out a Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust walk through the Muker Meadows at:  Closer to Reeth you can find lovely wildflower patches in the Reeth Orchard and also at the back of the Reeth Evangelical Church.

Tees-Swale: naturally connected is also sponsoring a National Meadows Day at Hazel Brow Farm on Sunday 7 July 2024 11am-3pm. The event is free but places should be booked at

Reeth Surgery veg plots updates

Gail has been working with the first year school children at the Reeth and Gunnerside School and there are now two beds planted up by the school children.  It has been a long term ambition to get the school involved so well done to Gail for finally getting it going.  More details and a photo of the children is available on our facebook site.

The recent hot weather has meant that the watering rota has been put into practice so we are grateful to the volunteers who have been watering the beds, the tree enclosures and the pear at the front. We are always looking for more volunteers so if you can help water for a week (Monday to Sunday), please email  Delyth. 

Save our Swale talk: new date - 1st August 2024

This is a rearranged date because of the use of the venue for polling on 4th July. Deborah Meara and Keith Thomas of ‘Save our Swale’ will be speaking on 1st August at Gunnerside Village Hall at 7pm. The talk will be preceded by a short film.

The speakers will talk about ‘Save our Swale’: who it is, what it does, and some results of water sampling along the Swale. The event is free and all are welcome. Refreshments will be available to purchase and there will be a raffle.

Stop Ure Pollution

Richmondshire Today has an article on the recently established group: Stop Ure Pollution (SUP) which wants to address pollution in the Ure. The chair of the interim committee of the Health of the River Ure group, Prof Richard Loukota, said the aims of SUP were to stop the discharges of raw sewage when storm conditions were not occurring; to upgrade water treatment facilities; and to identify pollution caused by the run-off from farms.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has issued a statement on the water quality of rivers in the Park.  51% of “water bodies” in the national park are in good ecological condition but the National Park Management Plan Partnership has recognised that little or no progress is being made on improving the condition of rivers in the national park. YDNPA identifies the main cause of river pollution in the national park as run-off from farmland.  Since 2009 the National Park Authority and Natural England have been working with farmers through initiatives such as Catchment Sensitive Farming to try to help reduce this pollution.

Swaledale Farming Film & Photography Festival

There will be evening film screening from 7pm-9pm on Wednesday 10 July at the Station Cinema, Richmond of “Six Inches of Soil”, as part of the third Swaledale Farming Film and Photography Festival sponsored by Tees-Swale: naturally connected. 

The free event, showcasing a selection of UK farming films, includes the newly-released 2024 film ‘Six Inches of Soil’, a film following the inspiring story of British farmers standing up against the industrial food system and transforming the way they produce food – to heal the soil, benefit our health and provide for local communities. There is also a photography exhibition at the Station Richmond  between  Thursday 4 July  (1pm) to Wednesday 17 July 2024 (3pm). Places for all these events can be booked at:

Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected event tickets from TicketSource.

Tree seedlings potted into trainers: event at Hazel Brow Farm

Sustainable Swaledale has partnered with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) on their ‘Seed to Sapling’ initiative, which aims to grow locally-sourced trees.  Some of the tree seed and berries collected last autumn, or the autumn before, from local ancient and semi natural woodlands, have now germinated. 

Seedlings large enough to be potted on were transferred to root trainers at the event on 19 June.  We potted on hazel, birch, oaks, large leaved lime, hawthorn and blackthorn amongst others. Matt from YDMT will be helping us to put bases down for the new enclosures partly built at the Reeth Surgery in early July and the seedlings will then be transferred into the enclosures by their volunteer hosts. 

The saplings in the existing enclosure at the surgery are profiting from the water rota and the hazel in particular are doing well.  Once everything is transferred, we will have over 1,000 saplings growing on for planting either this winter or the following. Thank you to Naomi and the YDMT staff for arranging the event.

Some of the seedlings transferred to root trainer

Volunteering at Snaizeholme

Snaizeholme is a flagship project for the Woodland Trust and one of the most ambitious nature restoration projects near us. The Trust is looking for volunteers to act as Site Wardens and Environment Monitors. If you’re interested and would be able to visit Snaizeholme on a regular basis, check out the volunteering website for details of the Environment Monitor or Warden  posts or contact Alec Pue, Site Manager (North England); Telephone: 03437705504 Email:

WingIt project: Low Row Institute

Rachel has reported that following work done earlier in the year at the Low Row Institute, a quick inspection has shown that several house martin nests have been rebuilt so there are now 5 nesting pairs. A swallow cup also seems to be in occupation. The sparrow terraces are occupied as well as the swift box (by sparrows!)

Talking of nesting birds, we saw the following in the Orkneys:

Group meeting

The July Meeting  on 4 July  will be at Mudd House – details will be announced on the group email . Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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