Skell Valley Project launch event

A ground-breaking project, co-led by the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB, is inviting the public to get involved.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 11:28 am

The Skell Valley Project is a £2.5m four-year scheme supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and aims to unite the community to safeguard the valley’s cultural and natural heritage.

Nabil Abbas, manager of the Skell Valley Project, said: “The Skell Valley Project is all about working with the local community to improve this rich and beautiful landscape’s resilience to climate change, boost the local economy and increase people’s access to green space following the coronavirus pandemic.

The project focuses on the 12-mile River Skell, which flows from Dallowgill Moor to Ripon and includes the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

To mark the start of the project, a free celebratory event takes place at Hell Wath Nature Reserve in Ripon on Saturday September 11 from 1-4pm.

A host of activities will be on offer, from stream dipping and guided nature walks, to natural wool dyeing sessions and an historical archives display. Refreshments and Yorkshire Dales ice cream will be available.

Nabil added: “I hope everyone will join us on September 11 as we celebrate the start of this innovative project.”

Project partners and local community groups will be on hand to lead activities, talk about their organisations and answer questions about the impact of this four-year project. The free event is open to all, and no prior booking is required.

There will also be opportunities for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and interests to get involved and join in with the Skell community. Volunteer roles are currently being recruited in nature conservation and archive research.

Opportunities include joining the Skell Valley volunteer rangers, suited to those who love the great outdoors and are eager to get stuck in with practical nature conservation tasks.

Nabil said: “Volunteering offers fantastic opportunities for those wanting to develop practical conservation skills, learn about wildlife management or who might even want to follow a career in habitat conservation.

“It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people, help safeguard our beautiful landscape, and try something new.”

For those more interested in the history of the Skell Valley, volunteers are needed for the Digging Deep in the Archives project with West Yorkshire Archives Service, to help transcribe archives and help others to find records which they would never have otherwise discovered.

Vicky Grindrod, archivist at West Yorkshire Archive Service said: “The ‘Digging Deep in the Archive’ volunteer roles will suit anyone with an interest in the heritage of the Skell Valley. 

“They’re a great opportunity to explore the rich history of the area, learn new skills, and share what you discover with others.”

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The Skell Valley is home to special built heritage, amazing landscape and wonderful nature but all of this is at risk from the impacts of Climate Change – it’s important we take steps to make all landscape more resilient and adaptable and using solutions based in nature, such as natural flood risk measures has so many other benefits too.

“Be it habitat connectivity where native species are allowed to move around freely, boosting the wellbeing of those that engage with the landscape through volunteering or visiting heritage, or by connecting people with nature who may not normally think it’s for them helping create a sense of ownership and engagement.

“We’re pleased that National Lottery Good Causes are supporting such crucial work supported by such a positive partnership.”

To find out more and to apply for the current volunteering opportunities as well as other roles:

Join the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB with their project partners and local community groups for an afternoon of activities to celebrate the beginning of the Skell Valley Project.