News: September 2023

Swaledale flower meadow

Greenpeace’s Stop the Sewage petition; Hedges masterclass; Lichens for beginners: North Yorks Community Awards: Sustainable Swaledale shortlisting; One Acre Meadow event report; Tree seed collection day report; Tree seed cleaning/seed box creation day 4 October 2023; Wildflower seed propagation workshop 10 October 2023; Yorkshire Dales Nature Recovery Plan

Greenpeace’s stop the sewage petition

Greenpeace has launched a public petition demanding that the government reverses budget cuts and properly funds environmental agencies, gives environmental agencies the legal powers and authority needed to hold water companies to account, and sets up more ambitious legal targets to clean water in England and Wales. You can sign the petition at: Petition – Stop sewage pollution (

Hedges Masterclass

At the last meeting, we watched part of an excellent tutorial called the ‘Nature Friendly Farming Network: the Hedgerow Masterclass’ with James Gibson and Megan Gimber.  James and Megan looked at the importance of maintaining hedgerows, as good maintenance allows for different stages in tree growth and creates different habitats.

The risk of a poorly maintained hedge is that one ends up either with hedges which are trimmed back to the same extent each year and never mature, or old hedges which are in effect a row of trees lacking under-storey habitat.  While a limited number of trees in a hedge are good for supporting wildlife, you need a mixture of under-storey, hedge and tree canopy to create the widest range of habitats. A well maintained hedge will act as shelter for stock, act as wildlife corridors and reduce flooding through water retention.  There is a lot of useful information available through the Q & A section at the end of the tutorial.

The film can be watched at

Tees Swale: naturally connected has arranged a hedging course on 8 and 9 November 2023. All spaces are full but let us know if you want to go on a reserve list in case anyone can’t make it.

Lichens for beginners

Three workshops on identifying lichens are being run by Dr Sue Knight at the Arkengarthdale Community Hub at St Mary’s in Arkengarthdale.  They are three separate workshops so you can choose to attend either all three or just the ones that interest you. Each session costs £4.00, including refreshments.

The workshops run from 10.30 to 12:00 on the following dates:

Saturday 7th October 2023: leafy lichens

Saturday 21st October 2023: bushy lichens and Cladonia

Saturday 4 November 2023: crusty lichens and habitats

Email or visit the Hub facebook page to book places.

North Yorkshire Community Awards: Sustainable Swaledale shortlisted

Sustainable Swaledale is pleased to announce that is has now been shortlisted  for the North Yorkshire Community Awards: ‘Caring for the Environment’ award.  The Caring for the Environment award is awarded to groups who have demonstrated a commitment to delivering community based initiatives that protect, restore and enhance our natural environment, helping to tackle the causes and impacts of climate change or supporting nature to thrive. All nominations are judged by an independent panel and are based on how the individual, organisation or project has:

  • tackled issues that affect people living in North Yorkshire
  • made a difference to their community
  • helped get people involved and inspired others

Two members of the judging panel: Fiona Protheroe (Climate Emergency Officer) and Councillor Paul Haslam (Member Champion for Climate Change (Conservative)) visited the group  on 2nd September 2023 to find out more about what we do. The  focus of the meeting was on our 4 projects – tree planting; meadows, Reeth community vegetable beds and WingIt – supporting swift and swallows.  North Yorkshire County Council  (NYCC) help nominees to make a short film so a photographer will be joining the group at the Tree Seed Day on 4 October to create one.  NYCC will shortlist 3 nominees for each award and we should know later in October if further shortlisted.

NYCC produce a climate change newsletter which one can subscribe to by visiting the sign up page: Sign-up to our Climate newsletter (

One Acre Meadow event report

Catherine Mercer, Haytime Officer at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust spoke at an event arranged by Cheryl at the Reeth Memorial Hall on 22 September 2023.  Catherine took us through the various stages of meadow creation, in what is basically a 10 year project if you are starting from scratch. She then answered all our questions.

Sue and Janet produced a display of flowers and grasses we could expect from a Swaledale wildflower meadow and brought a number of helpful resources.  Free seed was available to attendees and also put aside for people who had earlier expressed interest.  The seed handed out came from two sources:  commercial upland meadow seed from Emorsgate Seeds and brash cutting of a meadow from a farm near Settle.

Cheryl plans to create a map of all the locations and form a WhatsApp Group to help people provide mutual support and share experiences.   Such has been the level of interest that we have exceeded our initial collective target of one acre, and are now heading towards two acres. Plots pledged vary from small patches in gardens, to churchyards, to portions of fields.

Tree seed collection day report

The group ran a tree seed collection day on 23rd September at Muker, with the support of Carol Douglas from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Local seed was collected with the permission of Gunnerside Estate.  Volunteers walked around Ivelet Wood and collected birch seed, haws, a small amount of sloe and rowan berries and lots of hazel nuts.  The seed will be processed and tree seed boxes built at the tree seed  cleaning/seed box workshop on 4 October 2023. Once the seed has been cleaned, it will be planted in a mixture of sand and compost in the seed boxes and looked after by volunteers until the seedlings are large enough to transfer to root trainers. Alder cones were not ripe so not collected but we hope to get some at a later date.

Melanie has kindly created a film of our activities which can be found on a post of the event on the  Sustainable Swaledale Facebook page at:

Tree seed cleaning/seed box creation day 4 October 2023

This event, sponsored by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust,  will run from 10.30 to 14.30 at Hazel Brow Farm, Low Row. There are two options to choose from: making seed-trays and processing the seed that was collected at the earlier event. All materials and lunch is provided.  If interested, email or

Wildflower seed propagation workshop 10th October 2023

Following glowing reviews by Caroline of the wildflower workshop she attended down in Broadrake, near Chapel-Le-Dale, ‘Tees-Swale: naturally connected’ has arranged for Rachel Benson to rerun the wildflower seed propagation workshop at Hazel Brow Farm, Low Row on 10th October, 11:00- 14:00. Places are limited – please email to book your place.

Yorkshire Dales Nature Recovery Plan

YDNPA has published its new nature recovery plan for enhancing nature across the Dales, including Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. There is much to be said in its favour. The section on grazing is worth a read, as are the parts on wood pasture and creating shade in upland watercourses. There is a general shift away from ‘priority species’ in favour of landscape scale biodiversity, which is good too. There’s quite a lot in it, but you can dip in to find bits that interest you.

Check out a Richmondshire Today article where it is emphasised that while welcomed, such changes can only be achieved with more funding.

Core Group Meeting

The October meeting will take place at the Two Dales Bakery on 5 October at 7.00pm. Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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