Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme ran from March 2019 to February 2024. Its vision was to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. 

Download the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme Summary Report for an overview of the Scheme's successes.


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

This winter hedges have been the focus of much of our work with regular work parties at Gaythorne Hall to plant 2.5km of hedgerows. Last week our focus turned to the ancient heritage skill of hedge laying.

It’s a skill rapidly disappearing from our countryside as tractors and hedge trimmers replace skilled dykers (hedge layers). By managing a hedge by ‘laying’, trees are encouraged to regenerate; this extends their life, and that of the hedge as a whole. A well-laid hedge can act as great barrier to livestock movement and also protection and shelter from the worst of winter weather. Hedges can also help prevent soil erosion, capture pollutants, and allow wildlife to move more freely across the countryside within these fabulous wildlife corridors.

Under the expert tuition of Stephen Lord and John Nicholson, volunteers got a taste of the basics. They tackled a 55m length of hedgerow, planted about 15 years ago. Using hand saws and billhooks the top of the stems are thinned a little and freed from the other stems. Hand saws created the cut approximately two thirds through the stems. Using a little pressure the stem is pulled gently towards the hedge which is layed uphill whilst a billhook is wedged into the hinge and levered down.

The project hopes to increase heritage skills, biodiversity, create a larger network of wildlife corridors, increase carbon storage, as well as increasing the number of field parcels. Gaythorne manager, Jim Beary, wants to change how the land can be managed, and by planting hedgerows and hedgelaying he will be able to carry out rotational grazing known as ‘mob’ or regenerative grazing. This is part of a larger project that has received a FIPL (Farming in Protected Landscape) grant.

Volunteer opportunity: We have a few remaining hedge planting work parties this year. To book a place and for further information visit the events section of our website>