News: August 2022

Image by Ralf Schick from Pixabay

Beavers helping in the heatwaves; Coast to Coast walk to become a National Trail; From Peat to Paddling: Helping Richmondshire Heat, Eat and Meet: our plants; National Hedgerows Week 17-25/9/2022; North Yorkshire County Council considering a climate emergency scrutiny committee; Ospreys nesting in Wensleydale; Record temperatures can be attributed to climate change ; Richmond School Eco Club; Swifts and Swallows: Mashamshire Swifts Community Project; Swifts and Swallows: still time to record in Swaledale; Women in Agriculture: photography exhibition; Wooly Matters; Yorkshire Rotters Love Food Haste Waste Presentation 1 September 

Beavers helping in the heatwaves

The BBC reported that beavers at the Wild Ken Hill nature reserve were providing  cool habitats for other wildlife as a consequence of damming up rivers. Unfortunately the reserve was damaged by fire on the 19th July as noted in their blog. A farmer in Cornwall has also been reported (Guardian article) as saying that beavers had helped protect him from the worst of the drought as a consequence of pools starting to develop behind their dams. Knepp Estate in Sussex and Clinton Estate in Devon have also announced that they have areas of land green and hydrated as a result of the introduction of beavers.

Coast to Coast walk to become a National Trail

The Coast to Coast walking trail, set up by Alfred Wainwright, is to become a National Trail. This means funding of more than £5m to upgrade the walk and for path maintenance, signposting and promotion. The trail has high and low level routes going through Swaledale with the half way point being between Keld and Muker. Source: Richmondshire Today article.

From Peat to Paddling

The Friends of the Dales charity is  running a free afternoon conference on Saturday 24th September looking at what constitutes a healthy river, based on the challenges of maintaining the Wharfe. More details on their website:

Helping Richmondshire Heat, Eat and Meet: our plants

Sustainable Swaledale members provided plants for the grow-your-own-food initiative along with Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group, Tunstall Community Gardens and Just the Job at the Helping Richmondshire Heat Eat and Meet event. Feedback from the day was that the plants were very popular with only a few left at the end of the day which will be used for other projects. Hopefully, a few people will have been encouraged to try to grow something. Check the RCAP website for photographs of the  plants stall and presentations from the event. 

National Hedgerows Week 17 - 25/9/2022

According to the Tree Council, which is promoting the week, hedgerows are the unsung heroes of the British countryside forming the UK’s largest wildlife habitat. Preserving them is crucial to halting biodiversity decline and tackling climate change. 

Sustainable Swaledale will be  working with Tees-Swale: naturally connected over the winter to plant 835 metres ( over ½ mile) of new hedgerow in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. If you would like to help with the planting, please get in touch.

North Yorkshire County Council considering a climate emergency scrutiny committee

North Yorkshire County Council agreed on 20 July to explore the  establishment of a climate emergency committee to provide an added level of scrutiny for its work to tackle climate change.  A decision will be made at the November meeting.

County, district and borough council staff are  currently working on a draft climate change strategy which will cover the whole of North Yorkshire when the new authority takes over on 1st April 2023.  The strategy will cover measures to reduce North Yorkshire’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Ospreys nesting in Wensleydale

The BBC reports that osprey chicks have been born in North Yorkshire. This is the first recorded breeding pair of ospreys in the county for hundreds of years. This follows a reintroduction programme on the Bolton Estate.

Record temperatures can be attributed to climate change

World Weather Attribution (a partnership between Imperial College London, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre) has agreed with the Met Office that recent record temperatures of 40 C in the UK would have been extremely unlikely without human-caused climate change. 

A little more locally, according to a 20 year data record kept at Low Row, the temperature on the 19th July exceeded the previous record (1st July 2015) by 4.9 C.

Richmond School Eco Club

Richmond School’s Eco Club has been busy with students attending the ‘Heat, Eat and Meet’ event held at Tennants and presenting on their Big Garden Project. Richmondshire Today reports that the club then met Richmondshire District Council chair, Councillor Lorraine Hodgson and her climate change team, who heard about the work the club members are doing to gain green flag accreditation.

Swifts and Swallows: Mashamshire Swifts Community Project

Started in 2018, the Mashamshire Swifts Community Project has been responsible for the installation of over 100 swift boxes in Masham, 18 alone in the tower of St Marys. A Swift Trail has been created  around the town with  10 sculptures of swifts. More information can be found by contacting or following  them  on Facebook and YouTube at @mashamswiftsEvent.

Swifts and Swallows: still time to record sightings in Swaledale

The Swifts and Swallows team would like to thank everyone for recording sightings for swifts, swallows and martins last year. The collection of this data resulted in the first nest box installations in 2022 around Gunnerside and Langthwaite to support existing colonies. The next round of box installations will be in Grinton, Reeth, Langthwaite and Gunnerside.

The team are now asking for more recording of sightings so that they can record

a) Nest sites, so we can see if birds in our dales choose locations that follow the general national pattern of nest sites 

b) Numbers of birds in gatherings so that we can see if numbers are on the rise or fall or remaining constant over the next four years.

All information collected is shared with the YDNP conservation team, and with the RSPB and we will be published on the Sustainable Swaledale web site. The data collection will not be completely definitive but will provide a general picture of what is happening to these species in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

Please report observations on the new form.

Women in Agriculture: photography exhibition

‘Daughters of the Soil’ by award winning documentary photographer Joanne Coates is a collection of photographs of women from traditional farming communities in Coverdale, Swaledale and Wensleydale and Northumberland. The free exhibition at Tennants in Leyburn runs between 16 August and 4 September and is open daily from 9am to 5pm (closed bank holidays).

Woolly Matters

Rob’s Q&A article with Ruth Lindsey, who came to speak to Sustainable Swaledale back in June, made the front page of the August Reeth Gazette.  Details were passed on to the Friends of the Dales Group which was interested as it is focusing on wool for the next newsletter.

Yorkshire Rotters 'Love Food Hate Waste' Presentation, 1st September

The North Yorkshire Rotters, affiliated to the North Yorkshire County Council,  promote composting, reduce, reuse and recycling and the ‘love food hate waste’ campaigns. The  Rotters are coming to  speak about composting and dealing with food waste. Ian will be giving an hour’s talk including a slide show about the various options available for composting and hot systems which are particularly suitable for dealing with food waste. Ian will discuss both domestic and commercial solutions and will also discuss Allerton Waste Recovery Park which is where general waste is processed. 

The event will take place on Thursday 1st September at 7:30 at the Two Dales Bakery in Reeth and we invite anyone with an interest in the subject to come and join us. 

Core Group Meeting

The September meeting will take place 1 September at  7.00 followed by the Yorkshire Rotters talk.  Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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