Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Thanks to National Lottery players it has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Fund

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Community archaeology survey across an area of upland rough grazing and limestone pavement at Great Asby Scar.

Our ambition to reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales runs deep. To discover more about the history of the area we created a number of projects designed to help us interpret the area's rich archaeological heritage, much of which has remained undiscovered, unrecorded and under threat.

We can now update you with the results of the Great Asby Scar Archaeological Survey as work and reporting on the findings is now complete and we are delighted to be able to bring you the results. We've also included some information on a number of 'keyhole' excavations on Little Asby Common on land owned and managed by Friends of the Lake District.

Read a summary of this archaeology work and its findings>

Project lead: Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Delivery Team.

The upland areas of the Westmorland Dales, much of which is open access and common land, are rich in archaeology.  The fertile lands of the Lune and Eden valleys proved an attractive location for settlement since at least the Neolithic, and served as important navigation and communication route through the surrounding uplands.

The extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in August 2016 enlarged its area by 25% but increased the known number of sites on the Historic Environment Record by significantly more. Yet detailed surveys on Little Asby Common in 2004 and 2009 revealed that much of the area’s heritage had been overlooked and certainly unrecorded compared with the rest of the National Park. This project aims to start to correct this imbalance. 

The survey will focus on a study area of approximately 11 km² located 3 km south-west of Great Asby and 2 km north-east of Orton villages. 

There are 59 known sites recorded across the survey area, including seven Scheduled Monuments.  In addition, the desk-based research undertaken as part of the project design has identified a further 57 potential new sites, which await “ground truthing”.  These cover all periods, although there is a prevalence of post-medieval material, as might be anticipated.  

The project will focus on undertaking an archaeological landscape survey, working with a team of local volunteers, of 4.25 km² of the wider project area which has the highest potential for finding archaeological features.  It avoids areas already surveyed by the Lunesdale Archaeology Society and areas of limestone pavement, which are risky to survey when wet. 


  • To contribute to a greater understanding of the historic development of the study area and evaluate the nature, form, extent, date and condition of the surviving archaeological resource
  • To provide professional support and “hands-on” training in archaeological field survey to groups of local people, with the aim of promoting a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the heritage of the Westmorland Dales.