Delve deeper into the Yorkshire Dales

February 15, 2012

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is spearheading an innovative new project to promote and celebrate the incredible landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, and the fascinating subterranean world which lies beneath it.

The Geo Dales project will create new trails around Settle, Upper Nidderdale and Greenhow Hill, focusing on the fantastic geological and archaeological features. The project will also help create a youth ‘Rockhound Club’ based at the Hanson Greenhow Quarry in Nidderdale, which will focus on geology.

Dave Tayler, Deputy Director of YDMT says: “People are very aware about species and habitat, but are less conscious of the rich diversity of what lies beneath them. Geo-diversity is absolutely critical and influences everything that happens”.

“This is particularly the case in the Yorkshire Dales where we are blessed with a fantastic landscape which is a consequence of the incredible subterranean world beneath us. There are labrynths of 100km which a lot of people won’t even know they are walking over. If we raise awareness of this landscape it could be a huge boost for the numbers of people coming to visit the Dales. There is so much here of national importance in terms of geo-tourism.”

As part of the project an exhibition to mark the 175th anniversary of the discovery of Victoria Cave at Langcliffe, will take place at the Museum of North Craven Life at The Folly in Settle from July to October 2012. Victoria Cave was first excavated in 1837 with large scale excavations in the 1870s giving rise to the present cavernous entrance. The site has huge scientific and historic importance, telling us about life and climate change in the Dales over the last 600,000 years.

Geo Dales will support urgent work and further research at Victoria Cave, involving the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Natural England, Winskill Farm Visitor centre, caving club volunteers and universities. Local archaeologists will research the ancient settlements around the Plantlife Reserve at Winskill and restore a historic limekiln.

Geo Dales is funded by a variety of sources including: LEADER, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK through the Landfill Communities Fund, Hansons Greenhow Landscape and Biodiversity Enhancement Fund, and Nidderdale AONB Sustainable Development Fund.

Mick Lambert, Quarry Manager for one of the project sponsors Lafarge, said the company was delighted to support this ambitious project. He added: “The Geo-Dales project ties in very effectively with the work we do at our own Education Centre at Dry Rigg Quarry – the start point for geological tours of our working gritstone quarry by students of all ages.  This project will add to everyones understanding of the unbreakable links between the historical, geological building blocks that shape our physical landscape and the building materials that play such an important part in our everyday lives.”