News: May 2022

This month: Chair’s message; Log a hog; Nature for everyone petition; Repair it and wear it; Somerset Levels super nature reserve to be created; Star count results are in; Swifts and Swallows project: Together for Trees; Trees and woodlands: can they be successfully incorporated within your farming business?  Wildflowers and pollinator patches 

Chair's message

Hello to everyone interested in Sustainable Swaledale 

As your current chair I thought I would take a few moments to connect with you all.

We have had great results from such a dedicated core of activists over the past year expertly guided by Adam and supported by Rob as treasurer and Adele as secretary, with dedicated work from all individual members toward the various projects. I hope that we can make it another such productive year by putting our resources into our four main projects, Swifts and Swallows, Veg plots, Tree planting and Pollinator patches (bee lines) and trialling a new venture.

 Thank you for your attendance at meetings. The meeting on Thursday 5th May  again showed how discussion generates progressive ideas on how to add to projects and join with other agencies to bring parties together to get things done. Our role as advocates for change in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale is steadily becoming a reality.

 If we haven’t seen you at a meeting yet, or you haven’t been able to attend for a while, then we would love to see you. Even if you feel you are unable to commit time or energy to a project, your ideas, knowledge and experience are valuable and we would love to welcome you and involve you in our discussions, not to mention the chance to eat glorious cake and drink coffee at the Two Dales Bakery. You may well be involved in other projects but I am of the firm belief that we all need to communicate and support each of our concerns and projects to make progress.

Log a hog

Naomi had asked Highways via the Parish Council whether some hedgehog crossing signs could be put along the road between Arkle Town and Langthwaite because of the number of dead hedgehogs seen last autumn.  No reports of dead hedgehogs had been received so Highways will not consider signage.  Help to build up a case for signage by logging live or dead/roadkill hedgehogs seen on the big hedgehog map.

Nature for everyone petition

Spending time in nature improves mental and physical health, which is why the Wildlife and Countryside Link, a coalition of over 70 different organizations are calling for #NatureForEveryone as part of the UK Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda and changes to planning laws. There is a petition you can sign.

Repair it and wear it

We would like to hold a ‘bring and mend’ day for people to have material based clothing and equipment repaired. We have a willing venue and already have the structure in place to advertise the event. We are looking for an interested individual to head and organise this day as our first event of this kind. If you think you would be interested in moving this forward then please get in touch (

Somerset Levels super nature reserve to be created

Natural England has announced a new Somerset Wetlands National Nature Reserve (NNR) bringing together six reserves and other land managed for nature by organisations including Natural England, the RSPB, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, National Trust, Hawk and Owl Trust and the Environment Agency.

The Somerset Wetlands reserve is the second “super” NNR to be designated in England  and is part of efforts to create a national “nature recovery network”.

Source: BBC article 

Star count results are in

The CPRE have reported the results of February’s star count with 49% of participants recording that they could see 10 stars are fewer  which is an indication of severe light pollution.  This is a drop from 51% in 2021 and 61% in 2020 so moving in the correct direction. Check out results for Swaledale and Arkengarthdale on the interactive map found on the CPRE website . We live in an official Dark Skies Reserve and the results bear this out.

Swifts and swallows

An article by Alison on the swifts and swallows project appeared in the May Reeth Gazette  (page 12) and we are seeking volunteers for a volunteer bird box building day: 

Help for high fliers

We have funding and a venue lined up for a volunteer bird box building day to make stock for our swift and swallows box installation next year. There are lots of people willing to come and participate and we need someone to coordinate the day. You don’t need to be an expert on bird boxes as we have some excellent advice on what to build, we need someone who can organise a great day of fun making in the outdoors so people can do their bit towards supporting wildlife. If you can help then please get in touch (

Stacey and Rachel want to revamp the sightings form to capture more information and will concentrate on gathering data from the growing number of boxes/cups going up around the two dales (almost reached the target of 25). 

Trees and woodlands: can they be successfully incorporated within your farming business?

Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected and the Forestry Commission are running a joint event at the Heggs-Castle cluster in Arkengarthdale on Wednesday 8th June  2022 from 4pm onwards with supper provided at 6:15pm. 

The event will look at both the management of existing woodland and options for creating new woodland, including the availability of grants and other support mechanisms. Please contact Christa Nelson  ( or Nick Prince ( to reserve a place 

Wildflowers and pollinator patches

Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected and Buglife are trying to set up an Insect Superhighway running through Swaledale.  A meeting has been arranged at Reeth Memorial Hall  26 May 3:30 – 5:30pm for interested parties to discuss opportunities to increase wildflower cover and reverse pollinator declines.  Rachel will be attending and will report back.  

This may give us a chance to hook up with other organisations to achieve the aims of one of our projects for this year which is to help increase pollinator patches. Adam put an article in the May Reeth Gazette  (page 50) urging people to create pollinator patches and the group is  looking for a volunteer to help steer the following project: 

Pollinator patch flagship farmers

We are asking people up and down the two dales to pledge a patch of land no matter how small to be left to flowers to create a corridor rich in pollinators and wildflowers that in turn supports other wildlife. We are looking for farmers, who are interested in working more closely with nature, to become flagship farms and take the step of dedicating suitable areas to be left uncut and unfertilised until August. If you think you and your farm has what it takes to change for the future then we want to hear from you. Please get in touch (

If you have been participating in Plantlife’s No Mow May, don’t forget to log your results between 21st and 31st May.    

Together for Trees

The Together for Trees project has a new sponsor for the 2022/2023 season.  We will be working with Christa Nelson of Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected.  We thank Carol  Douglas of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust for her support over our first winter planting season. We currently have 11 potential sites around Arkengarthdale and Swaledale which have now gone in for YDNP constraints checking.  Carol is now working on a project to set up local volunteer-led tree nurseries so we might be interested in engaging with this project.

Core Group Meeting

The June meeting will take place on 9th June at 7pm.  Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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