News: March 2021

Climate change, food and gardening, Lembas group buying scheme, planning, trees, wildlife.

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

This year’s Earth hour is scheduled for Saturday 27 March 2021 at 8:30pm local time.  Earth Hour is an annual environmental campaign that highlights the effects of climate change by asking everyone to switch off lights at homes and businesses for an hour.  There will be a range of online events happening that night and a short video which you are asked to share.  Find out more about the issues on the earth hour website where there are lots of resources available explaining the impact of climate change.

Climate change means that in the future Swaledale is likely to  have the sort of weather currently experienced further south. Using the latest official UK Climate Projection data reaching out to 2080, covering temperature, rainfall, and windspeed amongst other measures, it has been possible to look for places which currently experience the sort of weather that Swaledale will experience in 2039 and 2061. Visit the blog post to find out which places, if current projections are accurate, closest match a  future Swaledale climate. The National Trust has used the same dataset to map climate change threats to its properties, coastline, and countryside. Their mapping covers Arkengarthdale/Swaledale:

Sustainable Swaledale are one of the groups involved with the Richmondshire District Council community partnership climate change group. An introductory meeting for each of the six work streams has been set up from 15th March over five evenings. There will be a launch meeting for all participants by zoom on 24th March which will also be attended by representatives from York and Humber  Climate Alliance. 

The partnership is open to volunteers and more are welcome to join to encourage representation from a wider area.

The Climate and Ecological Bill is a Private Members Bill sponsored by the Green Party and parish councils have been asked to give it their support. Reeth Parish Council has asked Sustainable Swaledale to provide some comments on  the Bill as part of the input to their deliberations.  

Food & gardening

Check out this month’s blog: March in the vegetable garden for advice on what you can start to plant and the importance of rotating your crops.

UN research on food waste found that more than 930 million tonnes of food sold in 2019 ended in waste bins. The UN has set a target to halve food waste by 2030. According to a BBC article, the sustainability charity WRAP has reported that batch cooking and more careful meal planning during the lockdown  has recently reduced waste by 22% compared to the 2019 figure. 

If you eat your broccoli stalks, then you are already into compleating or whole plant eating.  Find out more by visiting a blog about having a go at compleating and how crispy potato peelings have become a firm favourite.

Waste food: What do you do with 86 tonnes of celeriac? According to the BBC article, farm producers are struggling to find a market for large celeriac roots, which are generally too big for domestic purchase and normally go to the restaurant trade. Help the producers out by making a celeriac and blue cheese soup

Lembas wholefood buying group

There is now a Lembas wholefood buying group operating in Swaledale which puts in an order every six weeks.  The purchase orders are coordinated by volunteers and the company delivers to the Two Dales Bakery in Reeth where the goods are sorted by volunteers and locally delivered or kept for next day collection.

Lembas is a speciality vegetarian wholesale supplier with an emphasis on ethical trading, growing and recycling. The company offers a range of Fairtrade, GMO free and organic vegetarian and vegan produce as well as some non-food stuffs such as cleaning and personal care products. The aim of the buying group is to facilitate access to a wider range of goods from companies than easily found locally. As a wholesaler, Lembas is able to offer competitive pricing but requires items to be purchased in bulk so expect to buy goods in multiples or larger weights. Companies stocked include specialist wholefood suppliers such as Essential, Glebe Farm or Koko as well as bigger companies such as Alpro, Cafe Direct, Cypressa, Nairn, and Suma. Check out the Lembas website.

If you are interested and want further information,  please contact Hannah at the bakery:


Members of Sustainable Swaledale responded individually and collectively to the  the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s third consultation exercise about the new Local Plan covering 2023-2040, which focused on housing provision. Concerns regarding the relegation of Reeth to a large village were expressed by the Group. Similar concerns were expressed by Reeth Parish Council (who received a copy of our submission) and others as reported in  Richmondshire Today.


Together for Trees has kicked off and so far seven sites have been identified at locations in Hurst, Langthwaite, Reeth, Low Row, and Whitaside. The task with these sites for the next few weeks is to fully plan them out, and then arrange for fencing (where needed) over the summer in preparation for planting towards the end of the year. We have enough sites already identified but there is still some scope for a few additional sites so if anyone is interested contact

With the current renewal of interest in wood pasture, it should be  noted  that Swaledale used to have a lot of wood pasture (defined as  grazing land with scattered trees). Place names such as Thwaite (clearing), Hollins (holly trees), Stott Wood (stott meaning a steer), scrogs and springs (pollarded trees) all point to a historic landscape. More information can be found in Andrew Fleming’s book: Swaledale: Valley of the Wild River..


It isn’t too late to set up nesting boxes this year. Information on setting up nest boxes can be found on the RSPB site. Sustainable Swaledale members are busy looking at a possible project on Swifts and Swallows.

21st April 2021 is World Curlew Day. We are privileged to be able to see and hear the birds around the Dales. The Yorkshire Dales National Park and landowners within the Northern Upland Chain Local Partnership are working to conserve the curlew. The UK’s breeding curlew population has halved in the last 25 years and the curlew was added to the UK Red List of Birds in 2015 ( birds most at risk). 

Dr Callum Mcgregor, a researcher at the University of Hull gave an excellent talk as part of the Yorkshire Dales/North York Moors National Parks dark skies festival on the impact of night time lighting on moths.  The Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire/Dark skies presentation is available on Youtube.  Callum advises that if you are thinking of new external lighting, motion sensitive lighting and warm white lighting (less than 3000 kelvin) is best.

Core Group Meeting

The April Meeting will take place on 1 April at 7.30 – please get in touch if you’d like to join us on Zoom.

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