Upper Wharfedale Estate

The Upper Wharfedale Estate is owned and managed by the National Trust in partnership with local farmers. It consists of 2,670 hectares covering areas in the upper dale between Kettlewell and Oughtershaw. Parts of the estate are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), or protected by Limestone Pavement Orders (LPO).

The estate is one of the best places to see rivers and streams, calcareous grasslands, ancient semi-natural woodlands, herb-rich hay meadows and moorland habitats. The River Wharfe and its tributaries have a prominent place in this glacial valley and provide a home for bird species such as goosander, kingfisher and grey wagtail. The shingle beaches are a good place to see oystercatchers and below the water, the fish species bullhead and brown trout live. Calcareous grassland on the valley sides in Upper Wharfedale supports a rich flora with plants like common rockrose and early-purple orchid and is a good place to see the common blue and northern brown argus butterflies. In early summer yellow wagtails may be seen perched on walls adjacent to species-rich hay meadows such as those found in Langstrothdale between Buckden and Oughtershaw. Ash woodland with an understorey dominated by hazel is often seen growing out of scree below limestone scars, and blanket bog is found on the flat-topped moors along with wading birds such as curlew, golden plover and lapwing.

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There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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