The Dales are famous as one of the UK's most beautiful landscapes, but the celebrated scenery is not as nature intended.
Overgrazing has created a state of oddly beautiful bleakness in parts of the uplands, and left nature with limited opportunities to flourish. However, a large-scale nature restoration project led by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has just been launched and will turn 3,000 acres of heavily-grazed hills into a biodiverse ecosystem where native wildlife, including red squirrels, cuckoos and black grouse, can thrive.
The project, called Wild Ingleborough, will see the restoration of depleted peatlands and the expansion of native woodland, both of which act as vital carbon sinks. Around 30,000 trees will be planted, but most of the new woodland will come about simply by giving nature the unmanaged opportunity to reclaim the land - known as “passive rewilding”.
It is also one of the country's first projects that seeks to re-establish the tree line in the nation’s uplands. The WWF described it as a “blueprint for restoration”.
“Ingleborough is one of the most iconic and cherished landscapes in our great county,” said Rachael Bice, CEO of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. “By intervening carefully, we will see the landscape of the dales transform; restoring natural process and communities of plants and animals, which will help to secure and enrich the future of Yorkshire’s residents and visitors too.”