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  north of the Howgill Fells and 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

2.5 Dry Stone Walls Project Homepage>

Over 7 days in May and June volunteers, led by Dr David Johnson, carried out a dry stone wall survey in Asby parish. In advance we held a taster and training day, to give an introduction to walls, the landscape and how to survey them. This explored questions like what is a wall and when is a wall not a wall, as well as thinking about the earliest evidence of walls, regional walling styles, and why the first walls were built. It was also an opportunity to put walls in their historic and landscape context. The training day built on this, by discussing documentary research and techniques of how to survey a wall.

Asby parish was chosen for a number of reasons including available maps and its huge variety of walls of different periods of enclosure. This included walls that were linked to Byland Abbey Grange, giving magnificent examples of late monastic walling, and the area was subject to four discrete Enclosure awards: Asby Low Intake of 1849, Asby High Intake of 1849, Asby Mask of 1855, and Asby Winderwath of 1874.

The aim of the project was as follows – to see walls in a landscape context; to put them in their historical context; examine how walls reflect past land management; examine the influence of local geology; and investigate a representative sample to build up a picture of wall evolution.

The survey gave an opportunity to learn and develop survey skills. The walls were surveyed using survey forms, which captured the following information. With each wall, we looked at age indicators, including: height of wall, width of wall (is it straight sided or battered), how the coping stones were places (flat or raked), are there throughstones and are these coursed, what shape is the stone (i.e. is it field clearance or quarried), has the stone been graded (i.e. bigger stones at the bottom and smaller ones at the top), whether the wall was straight or sinuous, whether the corners were rounded or angled, as well as what the land use was on either side of the wall.

There were also other features to look for and record, including: single or paired orthostats (an upright stone), recumbent blocks (large stones on side), whether there was a plinth at the base of the wall, as well as wall furniture for example rabbit smoots, sheep creeps, gateways, stiles, straight joints etc., and whether they were blocked. In addition to this, a profile was also drawn using a specific frame to take measurements from.

We are expecting to receive the results in late August. These will be shared at our Dry Stone Wall Study Day on Saturday 8th October. We have an exciting programme of talks organised in the morning, which will give an introduction to the history of dry stone walls, a personal perspective of the craft of dry stone walling, and results from the survey in Asby parish. In the afternoon there will be an option to join a circular walk from Great Asby, to view some of the walls and banks in the village’s surrounding landscape.

More information and Booking available here>

We are also looking at opportunities to offer dry stone walling and hedge planting training events. Once these have been organised we will make the information available on our website.