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

The project led by Cumbria GeoConservation involved the designation of new local geological sites and the review of existing sites; their interpretation through a range of factsheets, leaflets, panels, websites and a book; and their enjoyment through walks, talks and other events.

Project Lead: David Evans, Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Delivery Team, Friends of the Lake District and Sylvia Woodhead, Cumbria GeoConservation

The Yorkshire Dale National Park is largely founded on its distinctive geology and its impact on the area's landscape, wildlife and human settlement. The extension of the National Park north-westwards further into Cumbria in August 2016 included the Westmorland Dales, an additional area of largely limestone landscape within its boundaries. Although some of the sites within this area were already known for their geology, the area's geology in other ways was overlooked.

This project helped to redress this imbalance. It started during the development phase with the production of a report by Dr Elizabeth Pickett on the geology of the Westmorland Dales and delivered a number of key elements over the duration of the scheme:

  1. 12 new Local Geological Sites were designated to add to the existing 8 sites which were reviewed. A simple downloadable factsheet was produced for the 14 of these which have public access.
  2. The area’s geology was further interpreted for all to enjoy through:
    o Four downloadable geology walks leaflets: Blasterfield and Dina Gill, Kirkby Stephen and Stenkrith, Orton Scar and Knott, Smardale.
    o 10 new earth-caches.
    o Two interpretation panels installed at Smardale.
    o “Revealing the Foundations” geology book produced for sale.
    o Update to the Cumbria GeoConservation website including access to the
    downloadable factsheets and leaflets.
    o Update of the Dales Rocks website including a Westmorland Dales section.
  3. Local people and visitors were engaged through a series of activities, including webinars, walks (including four ice age walks), talks, and an Introduction to Geology Day.
  4. Schoolchildren were engaged with guided walks and in-school learning activities, and a series of resources were produced for their use.
  5. In the last two years of the project we worked with Emeritus Professor Paul Carling, drawing on his expertise to reveal the impact of the last Ice Age in the area.

Webinar recordings relating to the project can be found here:

Clints, Grykes, Kettles and Thunderstones webinar

The Ice Age in the Westmorland Dales webinar

The geology walk leaflets can be downloaded here:

Geology walks in the Westmorland Dales

Key sources of information include:

The Resources section of this website 

The Cumbria GeoConservation website

The Dales Rocks website