Westmorland Dales Summer Newsletter
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Pictured: Gamelands Stone Circle
  Summer Newsletter

In this edition

  • Welcome to our Summer Newsletter 
  • Westmorland Dales School of Rock
  • An Update on our Cultural Heritage Projects
  • 'It All Went On' at our Wild Play in Tebay
  • Landscape Forum 2022
  • Bowber Head Hay Meadows
  • Orton 'Stile-Free' Ramble
  • 'E-Fishing' Volunteering Opportunity with the Lune Rivers Trust
  • Free Wild Play Days at Kirkby Stephen and Morland
  • 'A Way Through' Exhibition 
  • Celebrating the Centenary of the Fell Pony Society
  • Our 21 Scheme Projects
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Welcome to our Summer Newsletter

Welcome to our summer newsletter in what promises to be a defining year for our scheme. Despite some ongoing challenges with Covid and the weather, there really is an enormous amount happening at the moment as we try to catch up on things that have been delayed.  There just isn’t the space within the newsletter to include everything.
The last few months have flown by. It really was brilliant to be able to hold our Landscape Forum in Ravenstonedale back in April, the first since 2018, and to meet with such a range of partners, volunteers and local people. Thank you to everyone who contributed to such a successful day. There have been lots of other events and activities too, not least with a number of cultural heritage projects commencing including test pitting at Ravenstonedale, the dry stone wall survey at Asby, and our small-scale heritage features project at villages in the area, all engaging our enthusiastic volunteers. One notable achievement has been the completion of the undergrounding project at Gamelands Stone Circle thanks to Electricity North West. The overhead wires, which ran in close proximity, have now been undergrounded along the road to Raisbeck, greatly enhancing the setting of this ancient monument (pictured above).
And the volunteer opportunities keep coming, including a new project with the Lune Rivers Trust and, in September,  the second season of excavations at Little Asby Common. Events kick off with a series of activities to tie in with National Meadows Day with Cumbria Wildlife Trust in early July and continuing throughout the summer. So drop in at Bowber Head, or if you’re around at the end of July call in to see us at Westmorland Dales Day at Kirkby Stephen, when we’ll be joined by many of our partners, or at one of the other local shows in August. We’re given our webinars a bit of a break until the autumn but they’re still there on our website to enjoy and whet your appetite, together with our wildflower ID and other films.
So enjoy the summer, whatever the mix of waterproofs and sunscreen it entails.

David Evans, Scheme Manager
June 2022



Westmorland Dales School of Rock

Shap CE Primary School have been working on the rocks element of the national curriculum and how they shape the landscape of the Westmorland Dales. What an adventure it was!

Nicola Estill, our Community Engagement Officer delivered a session in school with rock boxes and experiments followed by a field trip in the Westmorland Dales. The children took part in an epic hike from Gamelands stone circle, visiting a limestone quarry then up to Great Asby Scar limestone pavement and to Castle Folds Romano- British Hill settlement.

The children were a delight and super enthusiastic! Many thanks also to Audrey Brown, a local geologist from Cumbria Geo-conservation who added the extra magic to bring these rocks to life! We hope you enjoy this collection of images we took as a record of a wonderful day...

An Update on our Cultural Heritage Projects

In May we carried out a dry stone wall survey in Asby parish. This was led by Dr David Johnson, and with a number of dedicated volunteers, they surveyed walls of varying dates in the parish. We are looking forward to seeing the results in late August. And you will be able to find out more at our Dry Stone Wall Study Day on Saturday 8th October.

Our cultural heritage trainee, Rebekah Booth, has been leading small-scale heritage feature surveys across several villages in the Westmorland Dales area. So far, volunteers and our apprentice team have surveyed Newbiggin-on-Lune, Ravenstonedale, Tebay, Maulds Meaburn and Crosby Ravensworth. In the next couple of months the surveys will be undertaken in Great Asby, Crosby Garrett and Orton. If you would like to get involved contact Rebekah.Booth@yorkshiredales.org.uk. They have been surveying small human-made features which include things like (milk) churn stands, stiles, and (lots of) gate stoops. The surveys will be written up over the autumn and the results made available online.

We also can’t forget to mention the test pitting project in Ravenstonedale which is being carried out by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Eden Heritage. Around 25-30 test pits will be dug around the village – test pits are 1mx1m pits that are excavated in 10cm spits until natural is reached. So far, around 15 test pits have been excavated over three weekends by a great team of volunteers, with support from the Ravenstonedale Parish History Group. They have found lots of post-medieval finds, exciting medieval shards of pottery, and even a prehistoric flint!

There is one remaining test pitting weekend on the 9th and 10th July, but there are also other opportunities to get involved in July. Contact: Douglas.Mitcham@yorkshiredales.org.uk

'It All Went On' at our Wild Play in Tebay

A wonderful day was had by all who attended our Wild Play Day at Tebay recreation field during the Easter holidays. Our partners Stomping Ground provided a fantastic array of nature connected activities from den building, clay crafts, campfire cooking and natural artworks. Children played games, picnics on the field, balance testing on slacklines and chilling in the hammocks. 

Nicola Estill, Community Engagement Officer said: "My favourite activity was so simple - Nature bashing! This involved choosing some juicy leaves with a good shape such as buttercup or dandelion, placing them under a calico bookmark and bashing them with a hammer to create some fabulous prints. Who knew that there was another way to deal with weeds? One person's weed is another's artwork!" Read more>

Landscape Forum 2022

One of the highlights of our year has been the Westmorland Dales Landscape Forum, held at the High Chapel Community and Heritage Centre in Ravenstonedale in late April.

Afternoon walks include one with the local history group around the village, another a little further afield looking at geology and scenery, and one along the Scandal Beck to Bowber Head, getting an insight into some of the river restoration work planned by our partners the Eden Rivers Trust and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

The keynote presentation in the morning was from Dr David Johnson, who is leading our dry stone wall survey in Asby, on “Walls in the Westmorland Landscape”. This was complemented by those on village history, rocks, meadows, rivers, heritage features, access and the work our apprentice team do to help conserve them all.

Bowber Head Hay Meadows Exhibition

An exhibition of wildflower photographic images. Wildflower identification film, hay making film and memorabilia from the last 100 years. 

The site will be open every day from Saturday 2nd July to Friday 8th July from 10:00am – 4:00pm. 

The exhibition is a 'drop in' event with no booking required. Directions and more information are available via the Cumbria Wildlife Trust website>
As well as the the exhibition, we've arranged a number of additional activities taking place throughout the week at Bowber Head. 

Some of the highlights of the week include...

Saturday 2nd, Monday 4th, Wednesday 6th July
Wildflower meadows walk – a two-hour walk in the company of Andrew Walter, Reserves Officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, who will tell you how the meadows are being managed and restored.
Booking required, via Cumbria Wildlife Trust>  
Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th July
Marvellous Meadows: a creative celebration of nature – Drop in and get creatively inspired by nature, with artist Julia Garner and writer Susan Cartwright-Smith. With activities for the young (and young at heart), free, booking not required.
Thursday 7th July
Wildlife photography workshop – with professional photographer Andrew Heptinstall. If you’re baffled by your DSLR camera and want to learn how to use it to capture nature and wildlife, this beginners’ workshop is ideal for you.
Booking required, via Cumbria Wildlife Trust>

A Film Guide to the Wildflowers of the Westmorland Dales

For a bit of homework you might want to watch our wonderful wildflower guides. The Westmorland Dales and Cumbria Wildlife Trust teams joined up with local photographer and filmmaker Jon Chappell to produce a series of short films designed to help you identify the most common meadow wildflowers. So if you don’t know your meadow crane’s-bill from your wood crane’s-bill, or your oxeye daisy from your pignut then these films are for you. Watch them all here>


Conserving Our Meadows - Webinar

The Westmorland Dales is home to some of the best species-rich meadows, verges and other grasslands in the whole of Cumbria. Claire Cornish, grassland conservation officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, gives us an insight into these grasslands and the work being done to conserve them as part of the rich range of habitats in the area. Recording of an online Heritage Talk including Q&A session from 17th November 2021 Watch it here>

Orton 'Stile-Free' Ramble

“Back at the beginning of April we supported the launch of Debbie North’s new Access the Dales charity assisting with a stile-free ramble from Orton across the fields to Gamelands Stone Circle and back.

Fifteen of us enjoyed some spring-like weather, testing out the capabilities of three different types of all-terrain vehicles and enjoying the magnificent countryside. Since then the Yorkshire Dales rangers, thanks to the local farmer, have installed a new gate giving permissive access to all to the stone circle itself.”

Route information and a video of the walk are both available via the 'Access the Dales' website>

'E-Fishing' Volunteering Opportunity with the Lune Rivers Trust


One project getting going this summer is our riverine species monitoring project in the Upper Lune catchment with the Lune Rivers Trust. And they’re keen for volunteers to help with their electro-fishing programme, sampling key locations to get an indication of what fish species are present in our local becks.

If you’re interested do get in touch with Jemma Wilson who is coordinating the programme:  Jemma@luneriverstrust.org.uk

Join us on a FREE Wild Play Day at:
Kirkby Stephen or Morland this Summer

A day for all the family. Drop in for an hour or stay all day with Stomping Ground Forest School. Building dens, crafts, campfire cooking and natural artworks. Playing games, picnics in the meadow, and testing your balance on slacklines or chilling in the hammocks. It all goes on! 

Save the Date: 3rd Sep - 2nd Oct 2022
'A Way Through' Exhibition

A small exhibition highlighting our 'A Way Through' project will be on display at the Old Courthouse, Shap from 3rd Sept – 2nd October. It is free to attend and will give you a taste of the project and its progress.

About our 'A Way Through' project
The Westmorland Dales is bounded on all sides by major through routes - the Lune gap; the Eden valley; and the route running east from Tebay through Ravenstonedale and onto Kirkby Stephen. For thousands of years people and their animals have passed along these routes and they have unsurprisingly left their mark both physically and culturally on the landscape around them. This is a community interpretation project that will gather together research on an important aspect of the history of the Westmorland Dales and then share this story with a wide audience through imaginative interpretation. Read more>

Celebrating the Centenary of
the Fell Pony Society

Special Events will be running at The Old Courthouse, Shap from Saturday 30th July - Monday 29th August including an art and photography exhibition plus talks and workshops. More information>

View / Download A5 flier (pdf)

Keep Up To Date

Follow the latest project news on our website www.thewestmorlanddales.org.uk and, if you haven’t done so already, sign up to our newsletter for news and volunteering opportunities. This scheme would not be possible without the support of volunteers. You do not need any experience, just an interest in heritage, a love of the outdoors and enthusiasm.

Our 21 Scheme Projects

More information about all of the projects that form the core work being carried out over our scheme's lifespan.

Visit our website for more information on all 21 scheme projects

Scheme Contact Details

Please contact us via email at westmorlanddales@fld.org.uk Individual contact information is available via our website contacts page.
The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme is a four-year programme with a vision to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. The scheme is grant funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


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