News for volunteers from the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership
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Welcome to our First Volunteer Newsletter
In Year One (July 2014 – June 2015) you volunteered over 3,200 hours of your time, some 460 days, to help to conserve and promote Upper Nidderdale.

In this bumper first edition we look back on the work carried out since the start of the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership in July 2014, and look forward to new opportunities. In future editions, we hope to be able to share some of the results of the ongoing work, as well as continue to provide an overview of the diverse opportunities, and perhaps find out some of the secrets behind volunteering in Upper Nidderdale.
A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time and skills to help us to achieve so much throughout Upper Nidderdale so far. Here’s to 2016!
Homes for Birds
Children have been enjoying school sessions dedicated to learning about local birds and how we can help them. Nidderdale Conservation Volunteers and Nidderdale Birdwatchers have been visiting schools to talk about birds, help the children to make nest boxes, and advise on where the boxes should go.
Nidderdale Birdwatchers were also instrumental in planning the sand martin wall on Gouthwaite reservoir. This has been such a success, with sand martins taking to it really quickly. Nidderdale Birdwatchers are continuing to monitor the wall's use.
In Spring 2015 volunteers assisted with farm surveys; at one farm 60 pairs of lapwing were recorded. Volunteers are also involved with hedgerow restoration at another farm to help grey partridge.
We are looking for volunteers to help survey breeding waders at sites where habitat management has taken place. If you are interested in taking part or wish to know more, please contact Tara Challoner. (Full training will be provided).
Making a Difference in Fishpond Wood
In the 18th century John Yorke of Bewerley Hall created a ‘picturesque’ landscape within Fishpond Wood by adding a network of paths and planting new species to subtly alter the character of the already established wood. Over time some of the paths were lost, with only the public right of way maintained, and the woodland was overgrown; the rhododendrons in particular needed taming.
The Nidderdale Conservation Volunteers have been working closely with the owner, Dr Peter Brambleby, to manage the woodland and to restore some of the historic footpaths. They also support students from the Foundation Programme for Heritage Skills who regularly join them. You can keep up to date with all of their activities on their blog.
If you are interested in getting involved with our Conservation Volunteers, contact James Searle, Volunteer Co-ordinator.
NiddFest 2015 – Celebrating Nature in Writing
Over one weekend in late July, people flocked from far and wide to the inaugural NiddFest. The weekend was a huge success and organisers were grateful to all of the volunteers who sold tickets, provided back up on walks, stewarded events and helped out across the festival.
Plans are already underway for NiddFest 2016, which takes place on 5th – 7th August. We’ll keep you posted of volunteer opportunities. In the meantime, check out the NiddFest website.
Our Farm Heritage – Led by Volunteers for Volunteers
A team of volunteers, led by Iron Age Nidderdale, have been surveying farms across the dale. They are recording archaeological features visible on the ground – the ‘lumps’ and ‘bumps’ in our landscape. The team have successfully completed surveys of three farms and are currently writing up their findings for the farmers. It’s not all surveying; some of the team have also been carrying out extensive research to bring the story of the dale to life.
The project is ongoing and new team members are always welcome. Please get in touch with Historic Nidderdale Project Officer Louise Brown if you would like to get involved.
Look out for ‘Reading the Archaeological Landscape’, Saturday 12th March, 10:30am – 3:30pm, Pateley Bridge Council Chamber. Open to all, but free to all those registered on the ‘Our Farm Heritage’ project.
A Landscape of Dry-stone Walls
Dry-stone walls are an iconic part of the Upper Nidderdale landscape. Some are in good repair, others not so good. The Nidderdale AONB Walling Group have been hard at work across the dale repairing and rebuilding stretches of walling in Heathfield, Lofthouse, Longside and Ramsgill. In Spring 2015 the team built a fabulous new wall at the entrance to Bewerley Park Outdoor Centre. You can follow the wallers on their blog.    
If you are interested in getting involved with our wallers, contact James Searle, Volunteer Co-ordinator.
Hay Meadows “Under the Microscope”
Volunteers at Nidderdale Visual Arts are delivering a series of projects exploring our links with aspects of Upper Nidderdale’s natural and cultural environment. The first of these focused on hay meadows and was led by local artist Gill Kirk. A series of workshops were held throughout summer 2015, both for the general public and with schools, offering an opportunity to learn about hay meadows and their plants, and to use the meadows as an inspiration to produce art work.
Work created by Gill and her students will be exhibited at number 6 studio, Pateley Bridge, between 3rd and 12th June.
Look out for “Under Our Feet” a new project exploring Upper Nidderdale’s geology.
Wildflower Nidderdale
This project aims to provide wildflower ‘stepping stones’ through Upper Nidderdale using a landscape-scale approach to grassland restoration and enhancement. Volunteers carried out surveys of seven meadows and 11 grass verge sites and collected seed from donor sites to be used to regenerate new meadows. This work helped us to restore 11 meadows (20ha) last summer. A team of volunteers also helped with to restore the botanical diversity of a roadside verge in Bewerley.
This year we hope to restore another 30ha of meadow and to run a detailed programme of botanical training for volunteers to assist them with their surveys. Contact Tara Challoner, Farming and Wildlife Officer, for more information.
Moorlands: People, Places, Stories – New Year, New Project!
Launching in April 2016, 'Moorlands: People, Places, Stories' aims to explore people’s associations with Upper Nidderdale’s wonderful moorland through oral history and documentary research.
Find out more on our website, and why not come along to an open meeting on Saturday 16 April, 10:30am – 12:30pm, Pateley Bridge Council Chamber. Please get in touch with Historic Nidderdale Project Officer Louise Brown if you would like to get involved in the project, either as a volunteer collecting this history or as someone who would like to share their story.
Events Across Upper Nidderdale
Thank you to our event leaders and assistants for making 2015 such a success. Once again, Nidderdale AONB has a packed programme of events for 2016, with a number taking place in Upper Nidderdale. Be sure to pick up your copy of ‘Visit Nidderdale AONB’ ­– out now!
Training Opportunities – Coming Soon!
James Searle, the Nidderdale AONB Volunteer Co-ordinator is just putting the final touches to the Spring/Summer volunteer training series – free to all volunteers. So whether you want to create 3D digital models, produce engaging interpretation, or learn how to identify grasses, we hope there will be something for you!
Get in touch:
A: Nidderdale AONB, The Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, HG3 5LE
T: 01423 712950
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