News from the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership.
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Welcome to the summer update from the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership. This edition covers upcoming events including the NiddFest literary festival, great news from the Gouthwaite sand martin wall project, a call-out for hay meadow sites, news from Prosperous Lead Mine and links to our new website.

Upcoming Events
This summer we have a varied programme of events to inform and inspire you about Upper Nidderdale.

Why not come along on our guided walk looking at the history of Scar House Reservoir and the deserted village of Lodge on 20 June? In July we have the ever-popular Rock Art walk looking at prehistoric rock carvings, a guided walk through the lead mining landscapes of Greenhow, and the Gouthwaite Farm Heritage Walk – a lovely evening event in beautiful surroundings with a buffet supper.

Come and be a Time Spy or a Nature Detective. Families can join us on 5 August for  a free drop-on family fun day at Bewerley, with activities for all the family including archaeological dig boxes and nature walks. Setting off from Lofthouse on August Bank Holiday Monday will be our Geology of Upper Nidderdale guided walk, a perfect antidote to crowded bank holiday tourist attractions.

Full details are on the Nidderdale AONB events webpage.

Photo: Gouthwaite Lodge Farm Walk

A major event for Upper Nidderdale this July is NiddFest, a new family friendly literary festival for nature lovers. Running over the weekend of 24-26 July, the programme brings together a host of authors including the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and renowned naturalist Mark Cocker, who writes passionately about Britain’s birds. Linking the talks by authors are a series of outdoor events so, for example, you can go foraging for wild food with local expert Chris Bax before sitting down to hear TV Chef and author Valentine Warner talk about Nature’s Larder.

The full programme and tickets are available from

Sand Martin Nesting Wall
Last autumn the Partnership completed work on an artificial sand martin nesting wall at Gouthwaite Reservoir. The wall was built to replace a natural sand martin bank that was lost through flooding. Nidderdale Birdwatchers have been keeping a close eye on the nesting wall ever since and we are all excited to hear that they have seen between 10 and 15 birds using the wall – although it is early days this looks to be a good sign for a successful breeding season.

One of the best places to view the sand martin activity in safety is to walk from Ramsgill to Bouthwaite and then turn right onto the track that leads back to Wath on the far side of the reservoir. There is a viewing area with a seat on the right hand side of the track that offers a good view across Gouthwaite Reservoir to the sand martin wall.

Photo courtesy of Alex Penn: Sand martins using the nesting wall.
Hay Meadows
Nidderdale farmers have been eagerly awaiting the warm summer rain that’s arrived this week and it will help our meadows to bloom and flourish in all their resplendent glory.

Through our Whole Farm Plans project, a number of farmers in Upper Nidderdale have agreed to restore a meadow on their farm to a traditionally managed hay meadow. Over the coming weeks, we will be busy surveying these sites to find out what is missing and finding suitable matching ‘donor’ sites from which we can harvest seed to enhance the floristic richness of the former.

There are various ways in which we can do this including taking the whole of a section of field (as green hay), brush harvesting (collects seed but doesn’t cut the grass crop) or by harvesting seed by hand.

Once the seed is added, fields are grazed by livestock to help trample the seed into the soil and then traditionally managed by the farmer.

If you are interested in restoring a meadow on your land or if you already have a diverse meadow with lots of different flowers and would like to find out more about donating some of your seed to help restore other meadows, please contact us on 01423 712950.


Prosperous Lead Mine
The extensive remains of the Prosperous lead mine are just one part of the story of the rich industrial past of Upper Nidderdale. Back in 1946 architect Robert Clough recorded the smelt mill. It was a partially roofless structure with some timber joists present, and the external walls were intact. The building has deteriorated much over the last seventy years, but the surviving walls of the smelt mill, shafts, and spoil heaps give an insight into this industrial landscape. 

During the spring, work focused on the smelt mill. Following a survey by AB Ecology, specialist masonry and restoration contractor Burrow Davies Ltd and archaeologist John Buglass worked on the surviving walling to hopefully ensure its survival into the future. The wall faces were repointed with lime mortar, sections of walling removed and rebuilt, and turf capping placed on the tops of some of the walls. Work continues at Prosperous to stabilise the remaining walling of the engine house, an almost sculptural fragment in the landscape.

Photo courtesy of John Buglass: Consolidated smelt mill wall.

New Website
We have recently launched our new website, which gives more information about the Landscape Partnership including a rundown of all of our projects, educational resources, self-guided walks and bike rides, plus contact details if you are interested in volunteering. We are planning to add more information and interpretation as the different projects progress.

Please take a look, we would love to know what you think. Find us at
About the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership
The Landscape Partnership is a £1.8 million scheme for Upper Nidderdale, funded mainly through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Launched in summer 2014, it will run through to July 2018 with two main aims:
  • to conserve and enhance Upper Nidderdale’s wildlife habitats and historic environment;
  • to enable people to find out, enjoy and get involved in looking after this fantastic heritage.
Get in touch:
Nidderdale AONB, The Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, HG3 5LE
T: 01423 712950

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