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

Common land characterises much of the upland landscape of the Westmorland Dales, providing grazing for both cattle and sheep and also delivering multiple public benefits. Indeed, common land is hugely significant to Cumbria as a whole which boasts a third of England’s designated common land. 

These unenclosed areas of common land have been farmed for centuries by ‘commoners’, tending their livestock through traditional husbandry practices, helping to preserve the beautiful, wild appearance of the land.

Today, the number of active commoners is in decline. Many are elderly and have no successors and there is less manpower to effectively manage the commons in terms of gathering and grazing. 

‘Our Farming and Commons Heritage’ is a new project launched this month which aims to record farming and commoning stories, collate and digistise old oral history recordings, interesting documents and memorabilia.  

It has been created as part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme and is being led by Friends of the Lake District. It launches with a public event being held at Orton Market Hall on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th October where it is bringing together farming heritage displays and memorabilia of the Westmorland Dales farming past. 

Organisers are also inviting farming families and workers who have lived in and around the Westmorland Dales; Tebay, Crosby Ravensworth, Ravenstonedale and other areas to drop in, tell their stories and share their family histories. 

Nicola Estill, community engagement officer said, 

“Many people outside the farming community don’t really understand what’s involved in upland farming and the unique heritage of our commons. We want to capture their history and cultural heritage whilst we can. We’d love people to come along and see us with their photographs, stories and any interesting historical documents that we could copy on the day”. 

This event takes place over two days at Orton Market Hall on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th October from 9:30am to 5pm and everybody is welcome to attend. 

For further information about the event or the ‘Our Farming and Commons Heritage’ project, email Nicola Estill at [email protected] or telephone 07814 305748 

The ‘Our Farming and Commons Heritage’ project is being delivered by The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme which is grant funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.