Public invited to celebratory event for Skell Valley Project, a £2.5m, four-year scheme

2 September 2021

A ground-breaking project in North Yorkshire, co-led by the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB, is inviting the public to get involved.

  • The Skell Valley Project is a £2.5m four-year scheme
  • Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Seeks to bring the community, as well as farmers and landowners together
  • With an aim to safeguard the valley’s unique cultural and natural heritage

The project focuses on the 12-mile River Skell, which flows from Dallowgill Moor to Ripon and includes the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden, in North Yorkshire.
Fountains Abbey

To mark the start of the project, a free celebratory event takes place at Hell Wath Nature Reserve in Ripon on Saturday 11 September from 1 till 4pm.

Hell Wath Lane, Ripon, HG4 2SE, United Kingdom

Skell Valley Celebration

Join the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB with their project partners and local community groups for an afternoon of activities to celebrate the beginning of the Skell Valley Project.

  • Free event, all welcome
  • Saturday 11 September 2021, 1-4pm
  • Hell Wath Nature Reserve, Hell Wath Lane, Ripon HG4 2SE
  • No need to book, meet at the Panthers Clubhouse
  • Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. Refreshments available to purchase. Accessible toilet facilities available on site
  • Find more information on:
  • A host of activities will be on offer, from stream dipping and guided nature walks, to natural wool dyeing sessions and an historical archives display. Refreshments and Yorkshire Dales ice cream will be available.


Nabil Abbas, manager of the Skell Valley Project, said:

The Skell Valley Project is all about working with the local community to improve this rich and beautiful landscape’s resilience to climate change, boost the local economy and increase people’s access to green space following the coronavirus pandemic.

I hope everyone will join us on 11 September as we celebrate the start of this innovative project.

Project partners and local community groups will be on hand to lead activities, talk about their organisations and answer questions about the impact of this four-year project. The free event is open to all, and no prior booking is required.

There will also be opportunities for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and interests to get involved and join in with the Skell community. Volunteer roles are currently being recruited in nature conservation and archive research.

Opportunities include joining the Skell Valley volunteer rangers, suited to those who love the great outdoors and are eager to get stuck in with practical nature conservation tasks.

Nabil Abbas said:

Volunteering offers fantastic opportunities for those wanting to develop practical conservation skills, learn about wildlife management or who might even want to follow a career in habitat conservation.

It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people, help safeguard our beautiful landscape, and try something new.

For those more interested in the history of the Skell Valley, volunteers are needed for the Digging Deep in the Archives project with West Yorkshire Archives Service, to help transcribe archives and help others to find records which they would never have otherwise discovered.

Vicky Grindrod, archivist at West Yorkshire Archive Service said:

The ‘Digging Deep in the Archive’ volunteer roles will suit anyone with an interest in the heritage of the Skell Valley.

They’re a great opportunity to explore the rich history of the area, learn new skills, and share what you discover with others.

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

Through our conversations with National Lottery players, we know that nature and landscape is incredibly important to them, and the funding for the Skell Valley Project means that they can play their part in preserving the significant and varied wildlife that the North of England is home to.

At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re incredibly proud to be playing a role in ensuring our natural heritage is safeguarded for generations to come, but also that the projects we fund give people the chance to connect with the nature and wildlife that is on their doorsteps.

The Skell Valley is home to special built heritage, amazing landscape and wonderful nature but all of this is at risk from the impacts of Climate Change – it’s important we take steps to make all landscape more resilient and adaptable and using solutions based in nature, such as natural flood risk measures has so many other benefits too. Be it habitat connectivity where native species are allowed to move around freely, boosting the wellbeing of those that engage with the landscape through volunteering or visiting heritage, or by connecting people with nature who may not normally think it’s for them helping create a sense of ownership and engagement. We’re pleased that National Lottery Good Causes are supporting such crucial work supported by such a positive partnership.

To find out more and to apply for the current volunteering opportunities as well as other roles coming up soon visit:

About the Skell Valley Project

The Skell Valley Project is an innovative, four-year scheme co-led by the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB to rejuvenate the 12 miles of the River Skell in North Yorkshire. Through this £2.5 million, National Lottery Heritage funded project we are working with local partners, landowners, farmers and volunteer groups to improve the landscape’s resilience to climate change, boosting the local economy and increasing people’s access to green space following the coronavirus pandemic.

A key part of the Skell Valley Project is working with farmers to tackle flood management and improve the river’s water quality, as well as encouraging wildlife to return and thrive. The project will also help reconnect Ripon residents with unexplored heritage and history on their doorsteps, with activity days for schools and community groups, as well as new walking and cycling trails.

About Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Studley Royal Park including the ruins of Fountains Abbey was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986. It is a masterpiece of human creativity – buildings, gardens and landscapes – combined into one harmonious whole, constructed over centuries.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal attracts a large number of visitors, but many people visit Fountains Abbey unaware of the extraordinary gardens in Studley Royal Park.

About Nidderdale AONB

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty (AONB) is an area of 233 square miles located on the eastern flanks of the Yorkshire Pennines stretching from the high moorland of Great Whernside south and east towards the edge of the Vale of York. Designated as one of the UK’s protected landscapes, the AONB is home to over 16,000 people, as well as important habitats and wildlife, dark night skies, a rich history, and a diverse landscape. A dedicated AONB team works to protect and enhance this beautiful countryside and the qualities that make it so unique.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £41 billion for projects and over 565,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.



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