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

Every child from seven primary schools across the Westmorland Dales has received a set of printed booklets featuring three local legends. The stories have been re-told by renowned Cumbria-based storyteller, Emily Hennessey, and the illustrations include artwork created by some of the children.

The booklets, delivered by staff from the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme in assemblies and classes over recent weeks, mark the conclusion of one of its projects, aimed at introducing children to local legends and folklore, helping to develop the children’s own storytelling, creative writing and artwork skills.

Pictured: Amanda Walters from the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme distributing printed copies of Legends of the Westmorland Dales to children from Years 3 and 4 at Kirkby Stephen CE Primary School

In the autumn term of 2022, schools had storytelling sessions with storyteller, Emily Hennessey, and many of the children took part in storytelling workshops and follow-on art sessions. As well as the printed booklets, their work can also be seen and heard in three short films of these legends, retold and illustrated by the children.

The three legends are closely tied to their local landscape setting, from the story of Mary Baines leading the hunt a merry dance down the Tebay gorge, to King Uther Pendragon’s attempts to divert the River Eden in Mallerstang and the strange antics of the Orton Dobbie in a remote farmhouse in the hills.

Pictured: One of the three featured short films available online, the strange antics of the Orton Dobbie in a remote farmhouse in the hills...

The films were released online earlier this year and are available to watch here>

Amanda Walters, Interpretation Officer with the Westmorland Dales Scheme said:

“The children have loved seeing their contributions come to life in print and within the films. I hope that they will remember these stories and retell them to their own children, continuing the tradition of oral storytelling in the local area.”

The three local legends will also be performed live by Emily Hennessey at the forthcoming Westmorland Festival on 30th July, for adults and children to enjoy.

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, which has been funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to engage people in revealing, conserving, enjoying and sustaining the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. More information is available on its website at: www.thewestmorlanddales.org.uk