A small scale heritage features survey of 7 settlements undertaken by volunteers will be carried out to inform records, interpretation and restoration.

Project lead: Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Delivery Team

The Westmorland Dales is characterised by limestone geology and calcareous uplands, extensive pre-historic remains, many scheduled monuments, farm buildings and a distinctive pattern of drystone walls as well as smaller-scale features such as lime kilns and churn stands. Due to the largely pastoral landscape it has remained unchanged for hundreds of years with Medieval settlements in the valleys and the historic village of Tebay on the western boundary. 

The small scale heritage features survey will focus on the medieval settlements of Orton, Maulds Meaburn, Crosby Ravensworth, Great Asby, Crosby Garrett, Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin-on-Lune. These settlements are well dispersed throughout the project area and offer a good sample of the small-scale landscape features that can be found across the Westmorland Dales and contribute to an area’s sense of place and local identity. 

The surveys will focus on a total survey area of 5km, inside the perimeters of the medieval occupation associated with each settlement as recorded on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Historic Environment Record (YDNPA HER). There are 264 monument records within the YDNPA HER recorded across the survey area, including three Scheduled Monuments and 73 Listed Buildings. During the development Phase, trialling the methodology revealed a further 26 new features within the village of Orton that were not previously recorded on the YDNPA HER highlighting the urgent need for further survey. 

The survey will focus on small scale and utilitarian heritage features, identifying vernacular styles and local materials that contribute to local distinctiveness, a sense of place and local identity. Examples include milestones, boundary markers, sign posts, churn stands, wells, stepping stones, bridges, gathering pens, pole gate stoups, sheep folds, stone troughs, hand water pumps and lime kilns.

Purpose 

  • 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 survey of built heritage to groups of local people, with the aim of promoting a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the heritage of the Westmorland Dales.