We worked closely with the National Trust to define and communicate their vision and mission for the land they manage in the Yorkshire Dales. The final document explains the thinking behind the Trust’s work in the Dales, what they are aiming to achieve and why. It explains what this means for the people, businesses, wildlife, culture and landscapes that make the Dales so special.
A landscape shaped by people, nature and time
“The landscapes we look after in the Yorkshire Dales are some of the most striking and well loved in the country. Starting around Malham Cove on the National Park’s southern threshold, they take you up to Malham Tarn, over Fountains Fell, and into the valleys and hills of Upper Wharfedale in the heart of the Dales.
“Although each of the places in our landscape is distinctively part of the Yorkshire Dales, they can, at times, feel like different worlds. You can be on a wild open fell-top that will blow your breath away on a sodden and bone-cold winter’s day. But you might just as easily be warmed by the sun down in a river valley, where villages, woods, fields and farms ease gently into the lie of the land. And from time to time you can find they catch you out in another place entirely; perhaps when a sharp light makes the limestone pavement glow white like teeth, or casts deep shadows up Gordale Scar.
“The Dales are not just about views. Part of what makes this landscape special is the way it has been shaped — and is still being shaped — by the action of people, nature, and time. Whether that means rivers cutting valleys and caverns, peat bogs growing on the fell-tops, people mining lead in the past, rearing sheep, watching wildlife, or riding bikes. These are the workings behind the landscape — they come together to make it tick.
“Importantly, these processes shape the functions of the Dales, as much as how they look. Understanding what the Dales do, what they provide for people and what we expect from them, guides our philosophy for the land and how we manage it.”
The Yorkshire Dales is a precious landscape, but it is also a working and a changing landscape. Some of the big forces that drive and shape the landscape are beyond our control — things like the climate, the economy, politics, markets and grants, and unexpected things like storms, or disease.