Yorkshire Dales Appeal Update
The Yorkshire Dales Appeal was launched in 2013 to create a more natural, diverse and resilient countryside fit for the challenges of climate change. This is a beautiful area but we think it could be so much better!
We want thriving wildlife, more natural and wilder places, exciting traces of the past, stunning views, enthusiastic visitors and sustainable farm businesses. Importantly we also want the estate to play its part in helping us adapt to an uncertain future with a changing climate.
We launched the Yorkshire Dales Appeal to help us tackle the changes required and were delighted with the response – well over £300k raised so far, although the total cost will be over £700k. We now have three major projects up and running to make the changes we want to see.
The projects aim to create a more natural mosaic of habitats across major parts of the land and to develop a new and constructive partnership with our tenant farmers. We believe the work will achieve all the following: -
• enhancing nature (biodiversity) including allowing the ‘ecosystem’ to function in a more active and natural way
• improving carbon capture and storage, thereby contributing to the removal of greenhouse gases
• restoring a more natural hydrology which will slow the flow of water from the hills
• creating a new vision for the future that is developed and shared with our tenant farmers (also helping maintain their businesses)
• enhancing visual appeal, visitor experience and the involvement of the local communities
• whilst looking after and improving the interpretation of the important cultural and historic features
So what are we doing?
We have agreed a number of exciting opportunities for change with our hill farming tenants. Many of them have reduced their livestock numbers through agreements with Natural England to levels that are closer to the natural capacity of the land. Building on this they have now agreed to us pursuing a number of major tree and shrub planting projects and to areas of peatland/wetland restoration. Taken together these changes will start to create the more natural and diverse landscape we are seeking.
Work started on the ground last year and over the next two years we will –
• plant over 100,000 trees and shrubs to create major new areas of native scrub and wood pasture
• complete restoration work over about 3,750 hectares of blanket bog – building on past drain blocking work by completing the reprofiling of eroding ‘peat hags’ on three large areas of bog habitat
• work with the tenants and Natural England to refine livestock grazing
• develop and implement our own results-based agreements with our tenants to support their time and effort in working to achieve our shared environmental objectives.
Thanks everybody – keep the donations coming, keep an eye on progress and do come and visit!