Credit: John Bridges / WTML
Snaizeholme appeal, North Yorkshire
Thanks to your support, we now have the chance to turn a tree-less landscape into a thriving haven for red squirrels and declining woodland birds in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Thanks to thousands of donations to our urgent appeal, a large part of the iconic Yorkshire valley of Snaizeholme is safe in our hands.
Our vision of a mosaic of habitats for a host of threatened wildlife species, including the rare red squirrel, is now within our grasp.
We still need your help to complete the careful planting and restoration work this important upland landscape deserves to ensure its future. But the hard work can now begin.
Donate to our ongoing appeal for Snaizeholme and its wildlife now.
Snaizeholme is now ours
Back in June 2021, we took on 550 acres of grazing land at Snaizeholme in the Yorkshire Dales. We’ve now been able to more than double that area, offering even more space to create vital wildlife habitat.
It's around 20 miles north of Settle, close to the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
More land secured for nature
We're delighted to announce that since acquiring the original piece of land, we've received enough support to secure an extension that will wrap around the head and western flanks of the valley. This includes two wonderful areas of limestone pavement and the extensive peat moorland of Grove Head.
It means that in total we'll manage just under 1,400 acres to allow nature recovery and help combat the effects of climate change. The work we do here will restore an entire ecosystem, lock away carbon for years to come, and help mitigate flooding in the catchment.
What's next for Snaizeholme?
Completing the sale for the land was only half the story. The hard work to create a mosaic of habitats for wildlife and people here in the Yorkshire Dales is just beginning.
We're planning to create one of the largest new native woodlands in England here at Snaizeholme. It will join riverside pasture, wooded valley sides, peat bogs and limestone pavement to form a diverse mix of wildlife-rich habitats.
Snaizeholme has more than 250 acres of upland peat bog, which should act as a huge sponge to absorb rainfall and slow the flow of floodwater down the valley and into the River Ure. But at the moment it is scored by drainage channels, allowing soil to erode, streams to fill rapidly, and drying everything out, putting the species that rely on it under pressure. We'll look to restore this important peatland to a healthy state.
Slowing the flow
With a staggering 21 streams running down into Snaizeholme Beck, there is a huge amount of work needed to slow the headlong rush of water downstream during heavy rains. Alongside our plans to restore peatland, we'll use leaky dams to slow water flow and trap sediment, all while letting fish and crayfish safely slip through.
Two large areas of fossil-rich limestone pavement sit above the peat bog. They are a refuge for ground nesting birds such as golden plover and are used by black grouse during breeding displays. The pastures here are also strongholds for the delicate mountain pansy. We'll protect this rare habitat with seasonal grazing.
Dry stone walls
Snaizeholme is criss-crossed with old dry stone walls, perfect for harbouring small mammals and common lizards. We'll maintain walls that offer a variety of conditions - whether shady, sun-warmed, exposed or sheltered - keeping the landscape's character and providing corridors and habitat for wildlife.
Deer, rabbits and sheep can cause havoc by browsing and nibbling at newly planted saplings. The Woodland Trust has promised to use plastic-free alternatives to tree guards by the end of 2021 and the trees we plant at Snaizeholme will be included in this pledge.
Please note that there is currently very limited parking near Snaizeholme, with parking only for prebooked cars to the current Red Squirrel Trail. You can find details of the Red Squirrel Trail and how to book by picking up a copy of Go Nuts for Red Squirrels from any of the Yorkshire Dales National Park visitor centres.
Why is Snaizeholme so important?
By bringing this slice of North Yorkshire into our care, we'll be able to achieve a number of important things for people and wildlife.
Credit: James Reader / Front Row Films
Plant trees in the Yorkshire Dales
The landscape here is in dire need of trees. Our recently published State of the UK’s Woods and Trees report presented irrefutable evidence on how imperative woodland creation is if we are to tackle the potentially catastrophic loss of nature. Transforming bare land like this with sympathetic native planting, and allowing natural regeneration to occur, forms a critical part of our work.
Credit: Markus Varesvuo / naturepl.com
Create habitat for threatened wildlife
We have a chance to boost biodiversity at a time when the natural world is in crisis. Woodland birds will have a home here for the first time, and open scrub woodland should attract species like the black grouse. Trees will boost the water quality of the river and beck, safeguarding the resident otters, plus birds such as herons, grey wagtails, kingfishers and dippers.
Credit: Papilio / Alamy Stock Photo
Showcase woodland creation in the north of England
Snaizeholme will become a flagship woodland creation project for the Northern Forest, a partnership between the Woodland Trust and the Community Forests in the north. It sits within Yorkshire’s White Rose Forest, and would form part of the ambitious plan to revitalise the north of England.
We still need your help
We still need to raise at least another £8 million to create a thriving haven for wildlife at Snaizeholme. Please support us if you can.
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