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Holmedale Community Nature Project

About us


How it all began...Early in 2023 National Highways approached Whashton Parish regarding a potential biodiversity project, to be funded as compensation for loss of habitat resulting from the A66 improvement works.  They were seeking a substantial project.  Whashton residents Sally Zaranko and Lizzie Rumble organised a meeting to gauge interest from neighbouring communities.  The meeting was attended by about 40 people who generated many ideas for potential project activities.  A steering group was formed with representatives from each village.  Since then, the steering group has been meeting on a regular basis to build the vision and scope of the project.  This included carrying out a residents’ survey in late Spring.  Results are available as a pdf further down this page.


Who we are... Since our most recent residents meeting our group has expanded and we now have representatives from each Parish willing to volunteer some of their time and skills to the project.  Please do feel free to approach your Parish representative with matters regarding the project or email

Whashton: Janet Clipsham, Lizzie Rumble, Sarah Stoneham.

Ravensworth:Ross Addinall, Matthew Usher.

Kirby Hill and Gayles:Linda Goulbourne.

Dalton: Sue Ley

Newsham:Nicky Oaks, Alison Brown

Barningham: Martha McBarron, Suzy Wilson


Our project scope and vision so for a 4-strand programme extending over 5 years, including capital projects for each parish: e.g., natural flood management, village green pond, new woodland; a farming liaison officer to work with local farmers on medium to long term improvement plans; habitat improvements in our communities: e.g., tree and hedge planting, removal of Himalayan Balsam, litter picking; and activities for individuals: evening talks, training and workshops on topics of interest.  Please see the pdf of the presentation given on 20th November 2023 at the residents meeting further down this page.



There was a good turn out of 28 residents at the meeting on the 20th November 2023 and a few more residents have stepped forward to help out.  Thank you to everyone who came along and took part.


We are currently in the process of establishing ourselves as a legally constituted entity that can apply for funding and developing the branding for our group.


In the interim we are running monthly talks and activities.  Donations will be requested to cover the cost of venue hire and refreshments.  Please see our events section for upcoming events.


In January 2024 , the group launched a series of talks and activities which are open to anyone to attend. January’s talk on Healthy Rivers by Charlotte Simmons of the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust had to be postponed due to Storm Isha but is now rescheduled for April 16th in Dalton and Gayles Village Hall. Please see events section for further details.


A training course on Watercourse Naturalness Assessment, funded by Natural England and delivered by Josie Neimira of the Freshwater Biological Association, went ahead in Ravensworth on 30 th January with 17 attendees. The training covered a new Citizen Science project which engages volunteers to assess their local watercourses for their current condition and quality. It is particularly focussed on smaller rivers and streams which have not been covered by larger monitoring projects. The aim is to identify and prioritise areas for protection and restoration. Local volunteers are now planning to meet up and come up with a plan on how to carry out these assessments locally with landowner permissions.




Away with the birds a talk by Carl Watts on his journey in wildlife conservation from the UK coastline to the uplands of the Yorkshire Moors and into our gardens. Is there a best way to look after our birds?

Carl is the Reserve manager at Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve and has previously worked for the RSPB and The Wildlife Trust.

Monday 12th February, 7:30pm to 8:30pm.

Newsham Village Hall.  £2 donation to include refreshments.


Bird nest box making, a workshop kindly run by Brian Rogers a volunteer at Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve during National Nestbox Week | Nestbox Week.

Sunday 18th February 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve, Catterick. £5 minimum donation.  Booking is required and 30 minute time slots will be arranged please email:



Gardening for Pollinators, a talk by Malcolm Hockham (formerly of Eggleston Hall Gardens and Plantsman’s Corner).

Wednesday 6th March, 7:30pm to 8:30pm.

Barningham Village Hall.  £2 donation to include refreshments.

Seed propagation, grafting and other skills for growing your plant inventory, a workshop by Malcolm Hockham.

Wednesday 13th March, 10:30am-12:30pm.

Barningham Village Hall. £3 donation.  Booking is required please email:  Option for lunch in Coghlans Tearoom afterwards.


What is a Healthy River?, a talk by Charlotte Simmons covering the aspects of a river that are considered when deciding on if a river is healthy or not from the perspective of the Water framework Directive and what to look for in a healthy natural river. 

A little more about Charlotte.. "I knew quite early on that I wanted to work in the countryside. I have worked for over 30 years in conservation from agri-environment work on the ground to project management and now I work for the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, hosting a the Dales to Vale Rivers Network, the partnership of people and organisations working together across the Swale, Ure, Nidd, Ouse, Wiske, Foss and Wharfe.  I want to see healthy rivers with abundant wildlife, valued by communities. "

Tuesday 16th April, 7:30pm

Dalton and Gayles Village Hall.  £2.00 donation to include refreshments.

Thank you to Rob Clipsham

for the photographs

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