Wild Ingleborough Project

A partnership has formed between Natural England’s Ingleborough National Nature Reserve team, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The University of Leeds, UBoC, The Woodland Trust and WWF, to develop a project to further the restoration of wildlife habitats around Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The land around Ingleborough has suffered loss of diversity over many years, but this partnership has a vision to bring landscape-scale restoration of wildlife from the valley floor to the top of the mountain. This will aid nature’s recovery in this part of North Yorkshire by supporting low intensity farming and helping wildlife to be more resilient in the face of the climate emergency and other pressures.

The team will work with local people and visitors to the Dales from the outset to involve them in the development of the project, seeking to support a thriving local economy, based on restorative farming to enhance local biodiversity, and nature tourism. The Ingleborough landscape is already inspirational and is visited by many people. In the coming years, the project will seek to support responsible access and enable people to explore the natural environment and get closer to nature.

Working with neighbouring landowners, farmers and communities, the partners will seek to share skills and knowledge in land management and connect existing nature reserves to create a larger area of land that is managed in a way that allows wildlife to thrive. Large-scale habitat restoration will benefit wildlife but also people, through carbon capture, flood reduction, job creation and improving both water quality and soil health.

Some areas will see woodland creation through planting native trees and in other areas the vegetation will be allowed to regenerate naturally. Grazing animals, especially cattle, will be used to create a patchwork of different habitats and with time, scattered trees and shrubs may grow on the upper slopes of the mountain.

Scientific monitoring at the site will be lead by researchers from UBoC and the University of Leeds, to track changes in the landscape over time and help to build an evidence base for the benefits of restoration. UBoC’s Professor Dominick Spracklen, who will be researching Wild Ingleborough, said: “We will embed monitoring in the project from the outset, allowing us to demonstrate the benefits of Wild Ingleborough for nature, climate and people.”

The importance of working with local people will be crucial as we explore different options for a positive vision of our landscapes, with people, climate and nature at its heart.

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