We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales
 We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales

Wildlife and Biodiversity



The Yorkshire Dales contains many different types of wildlife habitat, including moorland, hay meadows, woodland, limestone pavement and calcareous grassland. Some of these habitats are nationally or internationally rare and are prioritised for conservation. Because of this array of habitats, the Dales has wonderful potential for hosting a wide variety of species of wildlife.


Biodiversity is one of the reasons that the Dales is such a special place, providing opportunities for visitors and residents to observe and interact with the natural world. Such interaction is recognised as important for humans’ well-being and mental health.


High levels of biodiversity also bring other benefits, such as resilience against climate change and provision of reservoirs for species that may be important for agriculture.  It is possible to extrapolate from these factors into economic benefits.


However, in recent decades there has been a huge global decline in biodiversity as a result of human activities. This has been echoed in the Dales, where significant losses of species and habitats have occurred: most of the traditional hay meadows have been lost as a result of intensification of farming; moorland biodiversity has been damaged through heather-burning, excessive drainage and the persecution of birds of prey; woodland has declined because of inadequate management; and upland grasslands have been degraded through over-grazing.


Part of the statutory purposes of a National Park is to conserve and enhance the wildlife of the area, and to address these challenges, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has put forward a plan to improve biodiversity in the Dales: Nature in the Dales – a 2020 Vision.  The Plan recognises the significance of the habitats and species found in the Dales, and focuses on ways to maintain them and improve them. This co-ordinated approach involves working with farmers, land-owners and conservationists.



Our policies:

  • We recognise that biodiversity is a key feature of the special qualities of the Dales
  • We believe that biodiversity and wildlife have an intrinsic value that is worth protecting for the good of the planet and that they should also be protected and enhanced because of their multiple benefits for human society
  • We recognise that there are continuing threats to biodiversity and wildlife, and that these must be countered, and measures taken to reverse such trends


What we will do:


  • We will support the nation-wide efforts of the Campaign for National Parks to promote a richer wildlife in all national parks.
  • We will support the efforts of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to improve biodiversity in the Dales, by improving habitats for wildlife and by protecting endangered species.
  • We will work with other charities and organisations dedicated to improving biodiversity.
  • We will campaign for robust agri-environment support schemes to be made easily accessible to farmers, to encourage ‘High Nature Value’ farming.
  • We will support the “payment by results” scheme introduced by YDNPA in Wensleydale, which has won the support of farmers and also national recognition.
  • Within our own organisation, we will contribute towards the goal of improved biodiversity by undertaking the following:

* A campaign to increase biodiversity in roadside verges, through better verge management


* Making comments on planning applications that may impact on biodiversity, and advocating planning conditions that may protect or enhance biodiversity


* Promoting awareness of biodiversity to members of the public and visitors to the Dales (for example through guided botanical walks)


* Publishing articles about biodiversity in the Yorkshire Dales Review and elsewhere, to promote understanding and knowledge of the issues surrounding biodiversity

We have cancelled all forthcoming events due to coronavirus. 

There are many ways to Support our Charity and be a Friend of the Dales, to help keep the Dales special and vibrant for years to come. 

Join us as a member

Make a donation

Leave a gift  in your will

Register as a supporter 

Help as a volunteer at our events

Our Business members are very valuable to us and we thank them all. For a list of all these businesses, or for more information on the benefits of business membership, click HERE

Bill Bryson, a supporter, says :

"There isn't a more glorious and beguiling landscape anywhere, or one more deserving of our support. It really is as simple as that"

Alastair Humphreys 

Our Patron

says :


"it's more beautiful than you realise; the people are open and friendly and have time for you; your phone might not work which is a positive as you'll have more time - slow down and enjoy the silence".

Alastair’s quest for adventure began young. Aged 8, he completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge over 26 miles 

Chair: Bruce McLeod

Registered Address:

Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.

Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908

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