WGP is in now regsitered as a charity! Charity number: 1201507
Our Youth Steering Group is up and running if you want to join us send us a message through the contact section :)
195 Acres of high pasture and hill land in Garsdale, Cumbria
Like most areas of the world the Yorkshire Dales has seen, and continues to see, habitat and species decline.
There is a continuous quest for a balance between farming, industry, development, tourism and conservation and the regeneration of our natural environment
Wild Garsdale Pike works with young people giving them a voice and the opportunity to explore conservation and environmental issues and gain practical conservation and research experience.
We aim to enhance the ecosystem and biodiversity of the land, connecting with other similar projects and the wider landscape and landowners.
Isabella, Tamar and Vicky, three members of our Youth Steering Group talk about their experiences of the group
Events are led by a trustee and our Youth Steering Group. They are open to anyone under 30 yrs and combine a day of field work, surveys, meeting experts and discussion about conservation topics and strategies.
If you are interested in joining us for a day or interested in joining our Youth Steering Group then please hit the contact button and send us a message!
12th - 14th August. 3 Day Wild Camping Residential
Dry stone walling to repair our L shaped bield near the sheepfold, walk to the top of WGP to explore the bog and how this connects with the wider landscape beyond, moth survey, bbq, trip to Tebay Common to see the peat restoration work, digging more ponds at WGP to increase biodiversity, community event to catch up with our neighbours in Garsdale, trip to Kingsdale Head to see the work they're doing with peat restoration, conservation grazing and woodland creation, planning and fundrasing session.
Saturday 14th October YSG and Green Lancaster 1 day site visit
Peat depth measuring on the pastures, dry stone wall repairs, rabbit fencing and vegetation survey.
Sunday 15th October 1 day site visit Sight Advice Young People Field Work Day
Saturday 2nd December - 1 day site visit YDNP Up Skill Down Dale Apprentices WGP Field Work Day
Saturday 9th - Sunday 10th December YSG Weekend Site Visit
If you're aged 13 - 24yrs you can work with us and be part of the Wild Garsdale Pike Project by joining our Youth Steering Group
We have been working with young people at WGP since 2021 and they have played a key role in the project - meeting conservation experts, undertaking survey work and working with the trustees to decide the direction of the project. We're looking for young people who share our passion for nature, wildlife and the great wonderful outdoors ......
- Aged between 13 - 24 years
- Interested in conservation and making a real difference to the environment
- Want to learn new skills, meet experts, discuss ideas
- Want to make new like-minded friends
Then come and join us
- Mentoring and Training
- Knowledge and Expertise
- Accommodation for residential visits
In September 2021 and again in June 2022 we have been lucky to be awarded funding under the Farming in Protected Landscape Scheme, through the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This meant that we have been able to employ ecologists, Bowland Ecology, to undertake our baseline surveys (Phase 1 and NVC). The funding has also allowed us to buy lots of vital survey equipment, work with young people on site and undertake lots of surveys and practical work.
Over the past two years we've done:
Bird surveys, led by Paul Brady; Moth surveys, led by Sammy Haddock and Abbi Woof; a small mammal survey, led by John Martin; and lots of peat and vegetation surveys.
We've worked with the previous Youth Leadership Group, who were formed in conjunction with Action for Conservation in Manchester; Students from Lancaster University who are part of Green Lancaster; The Up Skill Down Dale group from Yorkshire Dales National Park and have lots more exciting connections and visits coming up in 2023.
We have amazing support from other local organisations including the Yorkshire Dales National Park - Douglas Mitcham, YDNP Community Heritage Officer, visited in August 2021 and identified the Neolithic ring cairn and Bronze Age burial mound at the top of Garsdale Pike - a really exciting find!
Simon Thomas from Cumbria Wildlife Trust visited us in August 2022 to advise on the restoration of our peat bog
We have been working with Edward Mills from Footprint Forestry to explore creating more woodland
We've met with several local farmers to learn about both the history of the dale and farming in the dale today
We have great connections with universities across the north - including Cumbria, Lancaster and Leeds.
Find out what we've been doing here :) http://wildgarsdalepike.org.uk/news-blog
Wild Garsdale Pike is now registered as a charity
'Forming a charity linked with the land seems the best way to create this project, while ensuring its ongoing development and longevity. To achieve this, I have built a small team, with a wide range of skills in conservation and the environment, working with young people and charity governance. I want this project to be embedded in the local community from the start, with conservation experts and, particularly, young people and those studying or newly qualified in a conservation/environment subject, guiding and developing the project.' Rosey Grandage
Wild Garsdale Pike will:
Enrich the environment of Garsdale Pike, and the wider landscape, by supporting its return to nature; empower and expand the horizons of young people through their inclusion in this process.
- Understanding and enriching natural processes, biodiversity and ecosystems now and for the future
- Youth leadership and participatory learning
- Building intergenerational connections across the local community
- Conducting and disseminating research to propel knowledge and understanding
You can see who the trustees are in Meet the Team below
You can find out more about being a trustee and charity governance here
About the Project
- The urgent need to enhance biodiversity through habitat and species regeneration; to connect landscapes and coordinate action, by repairing nature and our struggling ecosystems.
- Farming and food production v biodiversity – a debate of our time.
- Brexit and changes to funding. The decline of the basic payment scheme (BPS) and introduction of the Environment Land Management Scheme (ELMS) provides a chance to create a healthier balance
- Harnessing the energy and concerns of young people: the future of our planet.
- Understanding the right change in the right place: concerns about government policy and land buy ups by big companies wanting to offset carbon.
- Regeneration of biodiversity and ecosystems. Creating Living Landscapes and Wildlife Corridors by seeing the wider picture and working with partners.
- Enabling young people to take a lead role, giving young people a voice
- Using the land as a Living Lab: monitoring and recording change, exploring ideas and existing research. Understanding the power of data, collaboration and communication
- Enabling people of all ages to learn new skills, gain a new understanding and enjoy this beautiful piece of our natural world
- Enhancing communication between groups and communities: younger/older, inner city/country, farming/conservation
195 acres of high hill land in Garsdale, Cumbria, rising from 250m to over 600m (850ft to over 2,000ft). Around 35 acres is rough pasture – grass, rushes, some gorse, a few small thorn trees etc. – above this is 160 acres of rough grass, moss and some recovering blanket bog. The land runs up to the watershed from where a number of springs arise forming three main streams: Gillfeet Gill West, Gillfeet Gill East and Dry Gill.
The land is enclosed by and sub-divided within, by stone walls. To the west of the lower part of Gillfeet Gill West is around 9 acres of pasture, divided across in to two parts and to the east of Gillfeet Gill West is the remaining pasture again divided in to two parts. These existing sub-divisions will work well for the project.
The 160 acres is allotment land (land which would have been common hill grazing, but which was divided amongst the farms in the mid 1800’s). Again, this is split into two allotments, the eastern one being known as Stephen’s Wife, which presumably belonged to the farmers’ wife at Stephens’ Farm just along the dale many years ago.
The highest point of the land is Garsdale Pike; according to the Senior Historic Environment Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park the term Pike often indicates that there was an ancient barrow associated with it and this has turned out to be the case - there is not just a bronze age burial mound, but beneath it a neolithic ring carin.
At the top of Stephens’ Wife is a large cairn known as The Old Man of Garsdale, which I haven’t found out much about except that local people rebuilt it for the millennium. It will be interesting to find out more about its history and how it relates to other cairns in the area.
There are a few ruins up on the allotments: two or three sheep folds one of which has now been beautifully restored.
The allotment land is Right to Roam Open Access Land, but at the moment there is no access to it. There are no footpaths up from the road over the pasture and there are no stiles over from the open fell beyond.
The geology of the dale is a mix of predominantly grit/sandstone, with some deeper layers of carboniferous limestone. This affects the plant species in that grow in the area. The soil is predominately thin, on a sandstone base which has enabled the formation of peat and blanket bog, much of which is now badly depleted through a combination of historic peat cutting for burning, and over grazing and erosion by sheep. Occasionally there are areas of lime/alkali loving plant species – evidence of carboniferous limestone water rising to the surface and affecting the soil and vegetation.
The land has been grazed by sheep and at times cattle and ponies, probably for hundreds of years and seems to have been part of Lindsey Fold Farm or other farms in the dale.
There is evidence of quarrying, probably for stone for walls and buildings. There was coal mining, slate mining and lime burning in the dale, but there isn’t a clear record of it on this land. Sadly, the slate turned out the be porous – so wasn’t a great success as a roofing material!
Uses, Damage and Changes
Extensive grazing, particularly by sheep, over centuries has depleted the vegetation and therefore the ecosystem and biodiversity. There are now just a few trees growing close to the rivers and streams, the predominant vegetation is grass and rushes on the lower slopes and rough grasses, some mosses and berries on the upper slopes.
The situation was made worse in the 1970’s when farmers were paid to create grips (manmade channels) to drain the water from the higher slopes. The aim was to create drier land, therefore better grazing and enhanced food production. This was a disaster for the peatland and blanket bog and all the species that relied on it and a disaster for carbon capture and flooding. It had a direct effect on this piece of land in the early 1990’s – after a storm so much water rushed off the high allotments that it caused severe erosion to the banks of Gillfeet Gill West and flooding. The scar on the gill can still be seen. However, as a result the farmers who owned the land at this time got a grant to fence off the lower part of the gill to prevent sheep grazing and causing further erosion and to plant an area of native woodland to stabilise the banks. This woodland has done well and, because it’s been sheep-free, there is also heather and bilberry regeneration which is now starting to spread out to the surrounding pastures.
These farmers made other environmentally friendly changes, which has meant that the blanket bog is starting to return; there is now a lot of moss returning, including some sphagnum and as well as quite a lot of bilberry there are other species like cranberry and bearberry.
There is still a lot more to be done, but this is a great start.
Meet The Trustees and our Team
Conservation Explorer and Land Custodian. Trustee, Operations Lead and Health and Safety Lead
I’m a physio and Chinese medicine practitioner, treating people of all ages from tiny babies to the 'old and wise' in London and Brecon. Among other things, I have been a university lecturer for 17 years and been chair of a wildlife trust and am still a trustee. For the past 14 years I have run a small community interest company art gallery, which focuses on using art to raise awareness of conservation and the environment and working with and mentoring young artists. We were the first gallery to show the Environmental Photographer of the Year Award exhibition and have worked with a range of conservation charities. Until Covid hit we also ran our Arts Education Programme with local schools and colleges, enabling young artists to curate and present their own exhibition and we also mentored young local artists.
Outside of my work I spend as much time as I can out in the wilds - walking, listening, learning and relaxing. We live on an amazing planet and I am passionate about understanding it and caring for it and giving others that opportunity too. Having spent much of my 20's and 30's travelling the world, I lived in China for 2 years in the early 90's studying Chinese medicine and philosophy, I stopped flying in 2000 and since then have enjoyed exploring the UK.
I have been looking for some land in Mid-Wales or Cumbria, where I love to walk and have old family connections, for a few years and am very happy to have found this wonderful piece of dale and fell.
Conservation Advisor, Trustee and Safeguarding Lead
Born in Middlesbrough with a passion for wildlife right from the start; I studied Ecology at Lancaster University before embarking on a career as a science teacher, determined to show young people the wonders of the natural world I love. A slight career change into the charity sector with the RSPB and more recently the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Wild Ingleborough gave me the chance to work with people, bringing nature to life in their communities, on nature reserves and in the “classroom”.
I was lucky enough to grow up with the freedom to explore local green areas, the local becks, hills and beaches. Nowadays many of these places have shrunk or disappeared altogether. It is my belief that all people should have access to green spaces and, more than that, wild spaces, and better still if they can play a part in that restoration, taking ownership. So when I discovered Wild Garsdale Pike my interest was piqued
Paul is currently Compliance Manager for the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
Strategy and Governance Advisor and Trustee
Martin grew up in the Ribble Valley although has been based mainly in London for his 30+ year corporate career, in general management and strategy. He now sits on the boards of several private and public companies in the new energy sector. Until 2020 he was also Chair of the trustees of a small charity bringing off grid lighting to rural communities in East Africa.
Martin has a keen interest in conservation and Wild Garsdale Pike and brings his experience in strategy and governance to the project.
Surveys & Monitoring Advisor and Trustee
I’ve been fortunate to always live in the lake district and, till 2023, will be a student at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside studying Animal Conservation Science. I decided on pursuing conservation because I wanted to be in a position to help nature. Prior to uni I’ve done a lot of volunteering including learning to dry stone wall, remove invasive species and tackle bracken and bramble. During uni I have been able to be part of the Back On Our Map (BOOM) project, working to restore or re-introduce native species to Cumbria. This project enabled me to develop my surveying skills and work with the local community.
Austin and Lindsay Sedgley:
Farming and Local Advisors. Austin is a Trustee.
Austin and Lindsay qualified as accountants and fell in love with the Yorkshire Dales while studying in Leeds in the 1970’s. They decided to work for four years in Zambia to save enough money to live and work in the Dales and while in Africa travelled as much as possible stimulating their interest in wild open spaces.
On returning to the UK they bought a large house and 30 acres in a remote area of Upper Wharfedale and ran it for eight years as an “ off the beaten track” guest house. In 1988 they bought Lindsey Fold, a 230 acre traditional hill farm.
The following years represented a steep learning curve about all things hill farming... understanding the uniqueness of each land holding, the realisation that, with reference to government support schemes, “ one size definitely does not fit all”, dealing with the trials of extreme weather events...yes, even 30 years ago!
While doing this Austin taught Design Technology in the local secondary school and Lindsay worked in school catering and admin.
In 2020 Lindsay and Austin decided it was time to reduce their workload and downsize and are delighted to pass on the baton of managing their area of moorland to become Wild Garsdale Pike. During the years of livestock farming at Lindsey Fold they became very aware of the conflict between managing the land profitably and minimising the damage to flora and fauna.
'It will be a great pleasure to participate in a project which will redress the balance and help educate future generations to understand the very real challenges facing local farming communities in the years to come.'
Youth and Inclusivity Ambassador
Phoebe is a climate activist and Politics student at Lancaster University. In 2020 she co-coordinated Mock COP26, a youth climate conference, and her other affiliations include UNEP MGCY, the youth constituency to the UN Environment Programme, and Fridays for Future Digital.
Wildlife Film and Media Advisor
After studying biology and trying my hand as a field assistant in the wilds of British Colombia I moved into the world of wildlife television. Over the past eight years I have been lucky enough to work on documentaries for BBC, ITV, Nat Geo, Discovery Channel and Netflix as well as a stint down under as an impact producer for SBS Australia. By sharing the stories of the amazing humans and wildlife I meet, I hope to inspire myself and others to make more positive choices for this amazing planet we call home
Showing some of the amazing art, photography, poetry and ideas that Wild Garsdale Pike has inspired