News: May 2024

Pignut & cuckoo grass in a Swaledale meadow

This month read about: Buglife: build a “bee hotel” event;  Great Big Green Week 8-16 June; Let it bloom June; Low Row Open Gardens 29 June; One Acre Meadow plots starting to flower; Planning permission still required for barn conversions in National Parks; Potting tree seedlings into trainers event at Hazel Brow Farm; Reeth Surgery veg plots update; Richmondshire Repair and Repurposing Café; Save our Swale talk 4 July; Swaledale Farming Film & Photography Festival; Swaledale Swallow-cam at Reeth and sightings data collection; Warming world oceans; Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Woodlands Report 23-24

Buglife “build a bee hotel” event

Buglife will be running a free “build a bee hotel” event in the Hudson House Orchard on the afternoon of the 14th June. Places are limited so if interested, please contact Sustainable Swaledale or Cheryl ( to book a place.

Great Big Green Week 8-16th June

Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.  Richmondshire Climate Action Group has a website listing all the events running locally from 5th June onwards including two talks by authors Tom Moore: “Elegy for a River” and Roger Morgan-Grenville: “Across a Waking Land” (courtesy of Richmond Walking and Book Festival). Emma Johnson’s Orchestra for the Environment will be playing at St Mary’s Church, Richmond (Swaledale Festival event). Details of local events can be found on the Richmondshire Climate Action Group website.

Let it Bloom June

Plantlife has been running the ‘No Mow May’ campaign encouraging people not to mow their lawn, allowing more flowers to survive and  support pollinators. They are hoping that people will also embrace ‘Let it Bloom June’.  Plantlife is keen to encourage people to leave some areas still uncut allowing later flowering plants to prosper and repeat flowering plants to flower again. Information on Let it Bloom June can be found on the Plantlife website.  

I have noticed an increase in the number of Cuckoo Flowers in our lawn following on from leaving our lawn uncut during May and June last year. The Cuckoo Flower is so called because at is appears just at the same time as the cuckoo and disappears in July along with the cuckoo.

Low Row Open Gardens 29 June

Nature enthusiasts and curious minds are invited to delve into the botanical wonders of Upper Swaledale at the upcoming Low Row Open Garden Day. Scheduled for Saturday, June 29th, from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm.  On a different level will be the first ever open gardens event in Swaledale, providing an opportunity to witness the resilience and variety of plant life thriving in the local climate. Featuring 13 diverse gardens, from the more manicured front lawns to an array of wild flowers, attendees can observe first-hand the wide range of plants flourishing in Upper Swaledale’s unique ecosystem.

Neil Jackson, Chair of The Low Row Institute, “The Open Gardens serves two main purposes. To show that many different types of  plants can thrive in Upper Swaledale. And to encourage and inspire people to have a go at developing their own outdoor space. No matter the size or location.” Tickets and maps for the event are available for £5 per adult from the Low Row Institute. Children are free. Proceeds from the event will be split equally between Low Row Institute and Sustainable Swaledale.

The Institute will also be open during the day with refreshments and a plant sale. Unfortunately no dogs are allowed.

One of the gardens will be Mudd House where a number of you have helped to plant hedging and hollies. There will be some woodland groves on display as well as the hedging, our One Acre Meadow area; meadow flowers in the orchard and possibly a wildlife pond if done in time.

One Acre Meadow plots starting to flower

Several of us, who received meadow seed back in the Autumn, have been busy posting pictures of plants and in particular yellow rattle appearing on the One Acre Meadow Whatsapp Group. Sizes of plots and techniques utilised to prepare the ground for seeds have varied but everyone seems to be reporting some success. There were two seed mixes  so people either got seed collected from fields near Clapham or a commercial mixture: Emorsgate EM33 Upland Meadow Mixture.  It would seem from comments that everyone has started to see some plants emerging. There is a WhatsApp group to provide mutual support so if you are not sure of something, post a question on the Whatsapp Group or via email to and hopefully we will find an answer between us all.

I have done a check on our plot which we  seeded back in the Autumn with the commercial mix  (Emorsgate EM33 Upland Meadow Mixture) which is 51% wild flowers  and 49% grasses and I reckon that I  have been able to spot about 80% of the listed species which is very promising.  We have also been taking part in No Mow May and Let it Bloom June for the past two years and we are certainly seeing more wild flowers in our back lawn – cuckoo flowers have been particularly prolific this year.  

Planning permission still required for barn conversions in National Parks

The Government has announced that, following responses to a consultation paper on permitted rights, protected landscapes such as National Parks will remain exempt from measures allowing for agricultural buildings to be converted  to residential use without requiring planning permission.

Source: Campaign for National Parks press release 13/5/2024

Potting tree seedlings 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 raise local trees. We collected tree seed and berries last Autumn  from local ancient and semi natural woodlands and planted them into seed boxes built at a YDMT workshop. Once potted on, the saplings will be kept in a sheltered enclosure at Reeth Surgery in preparation for planting around the two dales over the winter.

Seedlings large enough to be potted on will be transferred to root trainers at a workshop, on Wednesday 19 June at Hazel Brow Farm from 10am to 2pm. All equipment and a light lunch provided.  Places are limited so it is essential to book a place. If you have seedlings ready to pot on, please bring them. If you can’t make the event but have seedlings ready, please let Naomi know. If you are interested in helping with potting on or would like to find out more about the project, please book your place by contacting Naomi  ( or the Sustainable Swaledale email.

If you would like to know more about growing trees in a community tree  project, there is  the first of two Zoom webinars with Adam Owen on 18th June 18:30 – 20:00 looking at the key practical elements and methods involved in growing healthy trees in a community tree project. More details at: Growing Diversity: ‘Introduction to Growing trees in CTNs – PART ONE’ Tickets, Tue, Jun 18, 2024 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite

Reeth Surgery veg plots updates

The May meeting was a working party at Reeth Surgery with the aim of doing some maintenance on the veg beds and painting some pallet collars for more tree nursery enclosures.

The gutters were cleaned to increase flow into the water butt and a new water tank set up on a base. A smart cover has been added. A new tap has been added and the tank half filled with water from the Vicar’s outside tap.  Still to connect to the downpipe and work out how to do an overflow but it now has water in and can be used for watering the beds. Another group sorted out the beds and planted runner beans, mange tout, strawberry plants potatoes etc.  We are grateful for all the donations of plants, seed and compost.

Another team painted pallet collars for two additional tree nursery enclosures as well as painting the existing one. One enclosure is now full with saplings. The other two enclosures will be provided with rodent proof bases and filled with saplings after the potting up day

Gail has been speaking to Reeth School with the idea that the pupils have a raised bed.   Gail went to the school last week and got the first year pupils to start some seed off. The seedlings will be raised at the school and then the pupils will plant them into the raised bed after half term.  Gail has also got the pupils thinking about how they can save water in different ways. A couple of the pupils had already taken produce from the plot and made soup from it. The school is putting some raised beds in near the first year classroom so will be using this term to work out what is required and the correct heights for the beds. Well done to Gail for getting this going because it has been a long held aspiration to involve the school.

Gail also happened to meet Reeth Surgery’s gardeners and it has been agreed that we can have the leaves and twigs in the white dumpy bags for our compost heap.

Delyth has set up a watering rota for the raised beds, the tree nursery enclosure and the pear at the front on the wall to the right. You get allocated a week and are responsible for watering as required during that week (Monday to Sunday). We are always on the look for more volunteers so please let Delyth know if you would like to volunteer

Inspired by the Reeth Surgery beds, the Arkengarthdale Hub made a bid to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund  (which funded the Reeth Surgery beds) earlier in the year to have some community beds near the church. The bid was successful and some  green pallet collar raised beds have been set up and planted. They are looking very smart.

Richmondshire Repair and Repurposing Café

Richmondshire Climate Action Group will be running its first Repair and Repurposing Café at Richmond Town Hall on Sunday 9th June from 10:00 to 12:30. Experts will be available to help repair clothes, fabrics, electronics, small electricals and jewellery. Refreshments will be available. The event is free but donations are welcome.

Save our Swale talk 4 July

Deborah Meara and Keith Thomas of Save our Swale will be speaking on 4th July at Gunnerside Village Hall at 7pm.

The speakers will talk about  Save our Swale: who they are, what they do, and some results of water sampling along the Swale.  The event is free and all are welcome. Refreshments will be available to purchase so we would be grateful for offers of cake.

Swaledale Farming Film & Photography Festival

There will be evening film screenings 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 will showcase a selection of UK farming films including 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.

Dates are:

  • Wednesday 19th June 2024 – Reeth Memorial Hall
  • Wednesday 26th June 2024 – Muker Public Hall
  • Wednesday 10th July 2024 – The Station Cinema, Richmond

There are also a photography exhibition which can be viewed at the following locations:

  • Keld Resource Centre  – Saturday 25 May (9am) to Saturday 8 June 2024 (5pm)
  • Hudson House – Saturday 15 June (9am) to Friday 28 June 2024 (5pm)
  • The Station Richmond – Thursday 4 July  (1pm) to Wednesday 17 July 2024 (3pm)

Tees-Swale:naturally connected is also sponsoring two events at Hazel Brow Farm: Open Farm Sunday on 9 June 11am- and National Meadows Day on Sunday 7 July 2024 11am.

Places for all these events can be booked at:

Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected event tickets from TicketSource.

Swaledale Swallow-cam at Reeth and sightings data collection

The Sustainable Swaledale WingIt team has set up a webcam watching a swallow’s nest near the Two Dales Bakery. You can view live footage of a pair of nesting swallows at

Volunteers have already started to log sightings of swifts, swallows and house martins around the dales either flying around or nesting. The WingIt team hopes that the data will enable it to see how many of last year’s nests are occupied again, and if we have any new ones.  The team is always keen to have more data collectors so if you are interested, please let Stacey know (

A swift box is now up on the Low Row and Feetham Institute and mud baths available to house martins to provide material for repairing nests.

Warming world oceans

The world’s oceans are warming with every single day since 4 May 2023 breaking the daily record for the time of the year. According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Service three days even beat the previous high by as much as 0.34C. Rising sea temperatures have consequences for marine wildlife and food security, and ice-sheets melting and deep-ocean warming is fuelling rising sea-levels. Source: BBC article.

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Woodland Report 23-24

Carol Douglas at the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has provided a summary of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Woodland Report 2023-2024.

“Despite the very wet winter we are pleased to report a very successful planting season with a total of 54.9 ha of new native woodland created and nearly 10 km of new hedgerow involving the planting of approx 115,000 trees and shrubs. We were pleased to involve lots of different groups from within the Dales and neighbouring urban areas in planting events and of the total number of trees, 8,500 were planted by volunteers.

Going forward we hope to continue to support more schemes in the coming winters with a particular focus on small areas of woodland creation and hedgerow restoration to help improve biodiversity and create connectivity in the landscape. We are however, also very happy to work in partnership to support larger schemes and can provide match funding through our flexible, straightforward grant programme.

Woodland Grant Programme – funding new native woodland creation (minimum 0.1 ha – no maximum), hedgerow restoration or new hedgerow creation, landscape trees, wood pasture, wood meadows.  For further information see YDMT Woodland Grants, email: or contact our Woodland Officer, Chris Lodge tel: 015242 51002.

Woodland Management – to build on our Plastic Free Woodlands work we are very excited to have secured funding to give additional attention to the management and maintenance of newly created woodlands.  Our aim is to support landowners to development Management Plans for small woodlands, less than 3 hectares, and to have a grant programme in place to enable delivery of the work.  For further information please contact our Woodland Officer, Mike Appleton, tel: 01524 51002.

Community Growing Schemes – we are currently developing community growing schemes in Swaledale, Malhamdale, Clapham and Crosby Ravensworth.  Our Seed to Sapling project will help ensure the right trees are available to plant in the Dales by creating a network of micro nurseries where native saplings will be grown from local provenance seed.  For further information see Seed to Sapling or contact our Woodland Development Manager, Carol Douglas, tel: 01524 51002.”

The strategy document is uploaded onto Facebook ( – the other documents: summary of YDMT All Volunteer Tree and Hedgerow Planting 2023-2024; YDMT Woodland Grants 2023-24; and YDMT Woodlands Scheme Summary map can be sent on a request to

Next Group Meeting

June Meeting – details will be announced on the group email . Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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