The National Trust has been successful in its bid to pursue a landscape recovery project for the Yorkshire Dales.
The bid – to be known as the Heart of the Dales project – was announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as part of the second round of the national landscape recovery scheme.
Heart of the Dales will focus on delivering gains for habitats and farming in partnership with tenant farmers and landowners across the Dales.
The initial phase of the project will focus on planning how landscape recovery can be delivered within the Dales’ challenging terrain while delivering for nature, climate resilience and carbon sequestration, with a bespoke approach for each farm.
Officials say that eventually, Heart of the Dales could see more trees in the landscape, improvements to water quality and associated habitats, alongside other steps to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve biodiversity such as peatland restoration and species reintroductions.
Alongside its landscape recovery work, the National Trust is looking at changing land management practices to improve Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve to further protect and promote its status as a wetland site of international significance.
Gwen Potter, project manager for the National Trust in the Yorkshire Dales, said: “We’re so thrilled to have yet more support for the National Trust’s work to make our iconic Yorkshire landscapes fit for a rapidly changing climate.
“Having this part of the bid approved is a significant milestone in what will be a long-term project for the Dales – working with farmers, other local landowners, and many different communities along the way.
“Nature-based solutions are an essential component in the fight for climate resilience, but of course this is equally about ushering in an exciting new era for farming and wildlife too, ensuring financial and environmental sustainability for the long term for our farming communities. It’s as much about ensuring economic resilience for the area as it is about climate.”
Malham Farmer Neil Heseltine, whose Hill Top Farm will be included in the Trust’s Landscape Recovery scheme, said: “I’m delighted that the Heart of the Dales scheme is progressing to the next stage, and I’m particularly pleased to see that local farmers will be at the forefront of the design and planning process.
“No two farms are the same in the Dales, so it’s essential that we’re able to work collaboratively with landowners like the National Trust to find nature-based solutions for the challenges brought about by climate change.
“Landscape recovery is essentially about creating a more sustainable environment for everyone – ensuring that our farms are thriving, not just surviving, for generations to come.”
The news comes after the Trust national report on climate change – A Climate for Change – highlighted an alarming forecast that 71% of places cared for by the charity could be at medium or high risk of climate hazards by 2060.
The report specifically highlighted Darnbrook Farm – which is situated on National Trust land near Arncliffe – as being a good example of best practice when it comes to adapting to challenges presented by climate change.
The Trust’s Heart of the Dales project team, which recently relocated to the historic Malham Tarn House site, will now begin planning a number of public engagement and consultation events to be hosted across the Yorkshire Dales in 2024.