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.
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:
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 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)
Most of our projects have been grouped under either the natural or cultural heritage theme, but in reality, many are neither one nor the other, but a mix of both. The connecting projects under this theme explicitly recognise this and look to underpin and strengthen the links between the different projects.
The engagement and interpretation projects, led by the team’s community engagement officer and interpretation officer respectively, worked to emphasise those links and the area’s heritage as a whole rather than particular aspects of it, with people at the heart of what was achieved.
This was reinforced by a project giving grants to local groups, allowing us to respond to their ideas rather than engaging them in ours, and via the apprentices project, providing a stepping stone for young people into a career in conservation and a valuable resource for our projects to draw upon. Two further projects led by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) encouraged local people to venture out to enjoy the Westmorland Dales landscape and heritage, and local businesses to celebrate and benefit from it too.
Grants were distributed to a wide range of local groups in the area to implement their own projects which met our objectives including tree planting, the restoration of heritage features, interpretation and engagement projects.
Eight countryside worker apprentices were employed by YDNPA, and one cultural heritage trainee, who developed their skills and experience in undertaking a variety of projects with a wide range of partners, acting as great ambassadors for the Scheme and the organisation. Most have gone on to work in the conservation sector.
The project saw extensive work on the rights of way network, bringing it up to a similar standard to the rest of the national park, as well as linking it to the Pennine Bridleway and with an extension of the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. The improved network has been promoted through a series of walking, cycling and horse-riding leaflets.
This project worked with local tourism businesses to promote the area’s heritage and to use that heritage to maximise the benefits to their businesses, mindful of the area’s distinct qualities, its Sense of Place, and sensitivities about attracting too many visitors.
Interpretation was a key theme underpinning all our projects with new welcome panels and interpretive boards sensitively installed, leaflets and booklets produced, sounds recorded and stories retold, many of them engaging local people in the process and helping them and visitors enjoy and understand the area’s rich heritage.
Engaging people was at the heart of the Scheme and most of its projects to celebrate the area’s heritage. A programme of general public engagement events was held from online webinars to annual landscape forums; volunteers were recruited, trained and engaged; projects delivered with local primary and secondary schools, and other training events held; art, including sound sculptures, land art, theatre and music was imaginatively used to engage a board cross-section of people.