Raydale Project

Why run the Raydale Project?

Raydale, in the North of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is a small valley that has it all, forestry, dairy, beef, sheep, moors, nature reserves, one of only two glacial lakes in Yorkshire, a good number of gills and streams and one of England's shortest rivers, the Bain. The dale has an active farming community that contains knowledge stemming from generations of land management. As with all land in the UK there are pressures and conflicts for space which has resulted in a number of issues that the Raydale project has been trying to address.

Aims of the Raydale Project?

This community-led project aims to tackle issues related to climate change and the artifical drainage of the moors which has led to erosion and deposition of sediment which degrades riverine habitats. The project has a whole river catchment approach.

The Raydale Project achievements?

Work has concentrated on reducing silt and diffuse pollution particularly in the core area around the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Semerwater. Three eroding gills, one in each headwater, have been fenced and planted with trees favoured by black grouse, a fourth naturally wooded gill has been fenced to encourage regeneration. A kilometre of river bank has been planted with indigenous willows as a buffer strip below silage fields. This planting forms a continuous tree corridor between the lake and Bain Gill and gives valuable food and cover to fish. Bankside fencing elsewhere protects a feeder stream from cattle trampling and has been botanically enhanced by salvaging plants from the willow-planting exercise. Linear woodland and wood pasture above the lake completes a tree corridor and will reconnect surface water to ground water thus slowing run off and reducing silt. A small area of flood damaged meadow has been planted with willows and alder.

Two new woodland sites have been identified, a five hectare site in Cragdale and a small roadside site, which will mask modern farm buildings, this will more than double the number of trees planted under the Project so far. Agreement has been reached with commoners and Natural England for local people to better manage an SSSI on common land. Removing an alien garden Ladies’-mantle and scrub clearance are the main objectives. Monitoring for and removing Himalayan Balsam in Bainbridge is on going. In addition, two MSc students are using the Project as subjects for their studies.

Who is involved in the Raydale Project?

The Raydale community and the Yorkshire Rivers Trust.

The unfolding of Grass Wood throughout the year is a story of rich fulfilment. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

Facts at your fingertips