The Westmorland Dales Landscape Forum, which took place on Saturday 21st April at Orton Market Hall, was a resounding success. More than 50 local people and representatives from local organisations attended.  

It gave everyone the chance to find out about the area’s rich heritage and what preliminary studies undertaken as part of the ‘The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership’ scheme have revealed. 

The Scheme, which is funded by Heritage Lottery and led by Friends of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park, is now 12 months into its development phase. It aims to reveal the area’s hidden heritage and to bring it up to standard with the rest of the National Park. 

Morning talks, presentations and videos celebrated the stunning landscape, geology, archaeology, meadows, villages, drystone walls and other heritage features. A circular walk around Orton after lunch with a range of experts in local history, vernacular buildings, geology and archaeology all contributed to a fascinating day. The walk finished at the archaeological test pit excavated by Yorkshire Dales National Park staff and Orton Primary School pupils the previous day. The pit highlighted an interest in developing similar work in the future; it was a brilliant opportunity to get schools actively involved and a great addition to the event. 

David Evans, development officer said, 

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback. People just enjoyed being around experts who were happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasm about the local area and its heritage in a very accessible way.  Others were delighted that ‘there was something for everyone’ and were keen to take part in this type of event in the future, perhaps with each focussed on a different village.” 

The final grant application to Heritage Lottery will be submitted in July 2018 for the delivery phase of the scheme which is expected to run from spring 2019 to spring 2023.