News: May 2023

Wildflower meadow, Oxnop, Swaledale. Photo: Adam Bradley

Bug splatometer: insect monitoring using your car number plate; Coronation Big Help Out event: report; Hay Meadows; National Meadow Day 1st July 2023; One Acre Meadow project; Sustainable: What’s in a Word?; Swaledale Farming Film and Photography Festival 2023; Swifts and Swallows; Tree Nursery Project: event at Hazel Brow, 11 June; YDNPA statement about hen-harrier persecution.

Bug splatometer: insect monitoring using your car number-plate

Buglife is asking people to measure the number of bugs on a car’s numberplate after a journey, as a marker of insect abundance. Data from previous surveys has helped scientists to understand the challenges facing insect populations.  There is now an app which can be downloaded to a smart phone.  Check out this video on how to use the app.

Coronation Big Help Out event: report

Many thanks to those who helped cover the event at Hudson House on 8 May 2023, including Rob, Cheryl, Hamish, Stewart and Charlotte and those members and supporters who stopped at our stall. Unfortunately the weather was not favourable so we only had three real enquiries throughout the period (11-3pm) although there were some useful networking opportunities. The whole event was very quiet, as was Reeth! Still, we hope to be able to convert those enquiries into real project support in the future.

Hay 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.  You can check out a short video on why meadows are so important  and find out more information on the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust meadow restoration projects.

Good examples can be found at Gunnerside Bottoms, the Muker Meadows and Yellands Meadow Nature Reserve. You can look at  Muker meadows in all their glory via a virtual meadow tour on the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust website – click on the ‘virtual meadows tour’ button to see a close up of the meadow flowers.

The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes is hosting an exhibition called ‘Within these Walls: Haytime in the Yorkshire Dales’, running until 17th September. The exhibition features linocuts and collographs by artist Hester Cox, who has been  inspired by hay meadows, alongside haytime artefacts and wood cuts by Marie Hartley, all from the museum.

Janet will be doing a demonstration on meadow surveying at the next Sustainable Swaledale meeting being held at Croft House, Gunnerside on 8 June. There will also be sessions by Paul on surveying the health of trees large and small; Stacey will be doing a section on bat behaviour, habitat and identification; and Rob and Margaret will be doing a session on collecting tree seed. 

National Meadow Day 1st July 2023

1st July is National Meadow Day and you can find out more about meadows at an event being held at Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre. Running between 11am and 2pm, it is sponsored by Tees Swale: naturally connected and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.  Find out more on the Hazel Brow website – more information on the Tree Nursery event is below.

One Acre Meadow project

Sustainable Swaledale is looking to start a One Acre Meadow project whereby residents are encouraged to put aside a small piece of garden for wild flowers and nature.  Collectively the areas will add up to a notional acre and each patch would provide vital pathways for pollinators to travel from patch to patch The group hopes to get funding to allow it to  provide seed and support. We have written a piece for the Reeth Gazette asking people if they are  interested, to contact us so that we can get some measure of interest.

Sustainable: What’s in a Word?

Sustainable Swaledale is running an event on Saturday 1st July in the Low Row Institute at 7:30pm (doors open 7pm).  The event, in memory of Joan and Gavin Graveson, will include a light-hearted, interactive exploration of what “Sustainable” means, presented by Sandy Irvine, blogger and environmental historian. There will also be a short film produced by the YDNPA showing how farmers protect nature through the farming year.  Entry will be free with doors opening 7pm. There will be a cash bar and a raffle.

Please let us know if you are coming by emailing

Swaledale Farming Film and Photography Festival 2023

Tees-Swale: naturally connected is sponsoring the second Swaledale Film and Photography Festival with a focus on farming through the seasons. 

The photography exhibition will showcase local photographers and winners of a public photography competition and can be seen free of charge from 11-21 June at Hudson House  and 22 June – 5 July at the Mezzanine Gallery at the Station in Richmond. Three films including Farming through the seasons; Nowt but a Fleeting Thing; and Thriving  can be seen in Reeth Memorial Hall 14 June, Muker Public Hall 21 June and the Station Cinema, Richmond on 29 June.  More information and free tickets can be found at

Swifts and Swallows

Swift boxes have now been installed in a number of locations and recordings of swift song are being played to attract swifts to the boxes.  Our swift box is now occupied – but not by swifts.  Blue tits have taken residence so we will now need to wait for the brood to fledge before we start playing our swift recording again.  We might be able to attract swifts looking to raise a second brood in a new location and also young swifts may well note the presence of the box for nesting next year.  The Two Dales Bakery swallows are busy around the bakery but are still to sit on their nest.

If you would like to volunteer to monitor the activities of swifts, swallows and house martins, please email

Tree Nursery Project: event at Hazel Brow, 11 June

Naomi, who is helping to co-ordinate the Tree Nursery Project has provided details of an event:

Are you interested in trees? If you’d like to know more about a project to propagate trees growing in ancient Swaledale woodland, then come along to an Open Farm Day on June 11th at Hazel Brow.  Details for the event are:

Open Farm Sunday

Hazel Brow Farm, Low Row, DL11 6ND

June 11th, 11am – 3pm on 11th June

Sustainable Swaledale volunteers will be bringing along seed trays containing recently germinated tree seedlings from seeds they collected from local ancient woodland last autumn.  The idea is to pot some of the seedlings on during the Open Day.  There will also be a range of activities taking place at the farm including crafting, a self-led nature trail and a farm walk incorporating meadows, scrapes and bee-walks.

Drop in any time during the day between 11am and 3pm.  Tea/coffee and cake will be available to buy; or feel free to bring a picnic.

Hope to see you there!

YDNPA statement about hen-harrier persecution

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has issued a statement condemning recent hen harrier losses including one tagged hen harrier roosting near Birkdale killed by someone in 2022. Killing birds of prey is illegal and  people observing a wildlife crime should call 101. The YDNPA has said this is all the more disappointing given recent success in breeding hen harriers with the support of some landowners.

Core Group Meeting

The June meeting will take place at Croft House in Gunnerside on 8 June  at  7.00pm.  There will be some light hearted information sharing sessions and refreshments.

Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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