Swineley, located near Hawes, is a 500-acre traditional upland farm occupying one side of Widdale Fell, characterised by the vast openness of this part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The farm is of great ecological value due to it containing a globally rare habitat in blanket bog, a nationally important grassland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) called Swineley meadow, and an array of wonderful birds that include curlew, lapwing, and black grouse.
The land carries the scars of historic farming and an increasingly harsh climate. It has been grazed into submission, is largely absent of trees and features only the crumbling ruins of former productive farm buildings.
"We will work in partnership to restore bare and eroding peat bog, create significant areas of new tree planting and introduce native rare breed cattle and pigs to restore natural processes within this incredible landscape. Space will be created to restore the degraded meadows and land managed to create a new mosaic of protected habitats."
Set within a ring fence, the holding extends to 500 acres of steeply sloping moorland including meadows, pasture, rough grazing land and peatland. The land is predominantly east facing and is bound by the Widdale Beck at approximately 350m above sea level. Mountain streams cascade through the landscape, and ultimately drain to the Widdale Beck.
Albeit fragmented, existing habitats at Swineley are already home to a wide range of important species, including curlew, the UK’s largest wading bird. Baseline surveys have confirmed the presence of curlew and black grouse, and we will work with adjacent landowners to help address factors impacting habitat availability and breeding ranges.
Working in partnership with our immediate farming neighbours, the Woodland Trust, Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park we are adopting regenerative farming methods, creating new farming opportunities, restoring the SSSI meadows and significant areas of peatland alongside welcoming significant new areas of woodland creation.
We will also prioritise the restoration and reinvention of these historic buildings working hard to preserve these iconic features to create a better future for this incredible part of the world.