The Roadside Wildflower

To launch the Orton special roadside verges project, an exhibition of Judy Dunford's photos will be shown in Shap, Orton, Hawes and Bainbridge this summer (details below). 

By illustrating how diverse and special these key habitats are, it is hoped that the photos will inspire people to take a fresh look at the National Park’s roadside verges and become ‘verge ambassadors’ - looking after stretches close to home and providing information to us about their verges' health.

For years photographer and long-time Orton resident, Judy Dunford, could be seen crouching by the roadsides in and around the Cumbrian village. By the time she sadly passed away in 2015, Judy – known locally as the ‘flowerlady’ – had amassed tens of thousands of close-up photographs of the wildflowers growing in the verges. Her widower, Paul, has handed the collection to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. 

The centre-piece of the small, touring exhibition will be a two-by-one metre colour montage of 230 wildflower photographs, representing a stretch of species-rich road verge. There will be a dozen further panels telling Judy’s story – and the story of Orton’s road verges, two of which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, currently classed as being in an ‘unfavourable’ condition.

The exhibition

  • 19 May to 5 June - Old Courthouse Community Centre & Gallery, Shap.  Photographic exhibition. Featuring a ‘Green Verges’ art workshop with Deborah Windsor on Saturday 26 May, and a plant and flower photography workshop with Patrick Neaves on Saturday 2 June. FREE.
  • 26 May to 4 June - All Saints Church, Orton - a mini-exhibition. FREE.
  • 12 June - Guided walk: Wayside Flowers of Orton. Join Wildlife Conservation Officer Sue Thurley for a 4 mile (6.4km) gentle stroll throught the quiet lanes of Orton, identifying verge wildflowers. Adults £3, under 16s free. Contact Hawes National Park Centre or book online
  • 20 June - Orton Market Hall. An open exhibition from 2pm with an opportunity to find out more about the project, followed by a talk at 7pm by Wildlife Conservation Officer Sue Thurley. FREE.
  • 28 June to 10 July - Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes. Photographic exhibition. Museum admission charges apply.
  • 18 July to 29 August - Yoredale (Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority offices), Bainbridge. 9am to 5pm (4.30pm Fridays). FREE.
Wharfedale in Yorkshire is a valley favoured by nature and enriched by romance. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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