Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme finished in early 2024 with projects successfully delivered by a wide range of project partners, community groups and individuals. 
Over the coming months, we’ll be updating this site to highlight what’s been achieved, so please keep checking back.

Welcome …

… to the Westmorland Dales website.

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme aimed to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Specifically, its objectives were to:

  • Reveal the area’s hidden heritage.
  • Conserve what makes the area special.
  • Engage people in enjoying and benefitting from their heritage.
  • Sustain the benefits of the scheme in the long-term.

This was achieved through a programme of projects developed and delivered through the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership, led by Friends of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, and mainly funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It ran over a five-year period from March 2019 to February 2024.

Here you can discover what makes the area so special, find out about the scheme’s projects, and view and download resources produced.

The Westmorland Dales

The Westmorland Dales is a beautiful area of Cumbria lying to the north of the Howgill Fells and located within the north-west corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It stretches from Tebay in the south-west to Kirkby Stephen in the east and to Maulds Meaburn in the north-west. At its heart are the limestone fells above Orton and Asby, rich in natural and cultural heritage, and with magnificent views to the Pennines, the Howgills and the Lakeland fells. It drains into the Lune river catchment to the south and the Eden river catchment to the north. Relatively overlooked compared with its better-known neighbours, our projects have aimed to reveal its heritage for more to enjoy without detracting from its unique qualities. (Click on map for larger image)

Contact information

Friends of the Lake District
Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 7SS
Main Telephone:  01539 720788
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
Yoredale, Bainbridge, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 3EL
Main Telephone:  01969 652300

The project, led by the YDNPA historic environment team, focussed on two local monuments. It saw the excavation of a sow kiln at Pendragon castle, dating back to when the castle was first built, and a major conservation project on the 19th Century  limekilns at Smardale, stabilising the structure and removing it from the “At Risk” register.

A conservation project undertaking works to protect some of the most vulnerable heritage sites in the project area including Pendragon Castle, Smardale Limekilns, Crosby Ravensworth Barrow and Shieling.

Project lead: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in August 2016 enlarged its spatial area by 25% but increased the number of protected archaeological sites (scheduled monuments) within the National Park by close to 50%.  The project area contains a number of highly important and visually iconic archaeological sites.  For a range of reasons, a small number of these are recorded as being at ‘at risk’ on the Historic England heritage at Risk register. 

The project focuses on four sites, three of which are ‘at risk’ sites and one vulnerable complex:

  • Smardale limekilns (part of NHLE 1021107 and 1145018)-‘at risk’
  • A bowl barrow at Crosby Ravensworth (NHLE 1007603)- ‘at risk’
  • A Sheiling (NHLE 1007596)-‘at risk’
  • Pendragon Castle (NHLE 1144890 and 1007156), is currently vulnerable and has given concerns about the safety of parts of the monument. 

Pendragon Castle and the Smardale Kilns are publicly accessible and frequently visited heritage sites.  The former railway line in Smardale Gill is a well used walking route, managed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and consolidation of the monument will help to ease concerns about public safety at the kilns. The two smaller earthwork complexes are nationally important archaeological sites that are better understood and where the conservation requirements and risks are now clear as a consequence of the development stage project. 

Work undertaken through the development stage has entailed the commissioning and execution of detailed archaeological surveys of the sites above, conservation plans and costings to be produced.

  • Smardale Limekilns- conservation recommendations , detailed conservation specifications, outline costing for the conservation work and an initial wildlife survey has also been undertaken.
  • Pendragon castle - Survey work complements an existing outline conservation management plan commissioned by the owner, and has resulted in conservation recommendations.
  • Crosby Ravensworth monuments - Works required to conserve the monuments are likely to be low key and are suitable to be led by NPA staff, working in conjunction with volunteers.

Project Purpose

  • To protect and conserve 4 vulnerable heritage sites in the Westmorland Dales- Smardale Limekilns, Pendragon Castle, Crosby Ravensworth Sheiling and Barrow.
  • To increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of these unique heritage sites.