New wildlife plan for River Skell

The vision for the River Skell includes the conservation management of farmland to benefit barn owls. (Credit - Barry Flude)
The vision for the River Skell includes the conservation management of farmland to benefit barn owls. (Credit - Barry Flude)
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A new partnership has been established to improve the wildlife and landscape of the River Skell which flows from Dallowgill Moor in Nidderdale to the outskirts of Ripon through the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey.

The partnership of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Nidderdale AONB) and private landowner Paul Sykes is drawing up a plan to create a living landscape based around the catchment of the River Skell and is looking for other partners to join in and deliver the plan on the ground.

Paul Burgess, from the Nidderdale AONB, said: “The AONB has been working with farmers in the Skell catchment for several years now. They have done some fantastic work on improving habitats for wildlife on the river and in the surrounding land.

“This new initiative will enable the partnership to build on what they have already achieved by improving existing habitat and by creating corridors that will knit it all together”.

A living landscape is a landscape-scale conservation initiative aiming to create a resilient and healthy environment by restoring, recreating and reconnecting wildlife habitats across large areas.

The vision for the Skell includes plans for river corridor habitat improvements to benefit wildlife, improve water quality and reduce flood risk; restoration and linking of ancient woodlands; and conservation management of farmland to benefit barn owls.

Paul Sykes, who owns land in the Skell Living Landscape area, is supporting the partnership and is calling on other landowners and managers to get in touch.

He said: “If you own or manage land in the Skell catchment then you can help to do more for the wildlife of the area by joining with me in supporting the partnership to implement their Living Landscape plan.”

If you are a landowner in the area and want to discuss how you might be able to make a difference for wildlife in the Skell Living Landscape you can get in touch with the partnership by contacting Jo Milborrow at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on 01904 659570 or email jo.milborrow@ywt.org.uk