Why is the Skell Valley scheme so important?
The Valley and its unique cultural and natural heritage are under threat from a number of forces.
Fighting climate change
Climate change is causing extreme weather conditions around the world. Extreme flooding events have caused irreparable damage to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, and the high level of silt that is deposited in the river is threatening its ecology. Silt is also affecting the water features at Grantley Hall, Eavestone Lake and Ripon Canal.
If a different approach to looking after the land and the water that flows through it can’t be found, then the heritage of the valley could disappear for ever.
The success of this project was featured in a recent UNESCO report on Sites for Sustainable Development.
To find out more about what we're doing to safeguard the future of Skell Valley to make it more resilient to climate change you can watch a short video here.
The full report is also available here.
Due to neglect, there is a significant risk of loss of heritage along the Skell Valley. At Eavestone Lake, maturing trees and silt in the lake are closing in on the designed landscape and obscuring views. The poor condition of built and landscape features in the Chinese Garden, at Aldfield Spa and the First World War heritage in Ripon means we risk losing part of our heritage forever.
Throughout the valley there is a decline in nature. Poor water quality due to the amount of sedimentation in the river threatens wildlife and there is an increase in invasive species such as Himalayan balsam and signal crayfish.
Providing access for everyone
When research for the project took place, it was clear that there were significant barriers to people accessing nature, heritage and the outdoors. Some groups were less likely to use the natural environment for recreation and barriers include money, access to travel, lack of information and confidence about going to the countryside.