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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Hopes high that conservation project will be a barn storming success

Dilapidated barns in Upper Swaledale are being given a new lease of life during an 18-month project.

Around 600 of them and a number within Muker Parish have already been identified as potential candidates for some TLC.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s project will see local builders using traditional materials, techniques and craft skills to conserve the barns for future generations

The scheme will be paid for partly from a £100,000 legacy bequeathed to the authority by an anonymous individual. The national park authority and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust are providing additional funding.

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The authority’s new local plan, which will set the framework for future planning policy in the area, encourages the restoration and re-use of barns. The project gets barn owners to consider the options for each building. As well as repairing the buildings, the project supports a range of training events and opportunities focused on built heritage skills, working alongside skilled local craftspeople and training organisations.

The restoration work will be complemented by another national park project, Every Barn Tells a Story, which records the history and the stories of the barns. Every Barn Tells a Story has secured £65,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the authority contributing an additional £20,000, and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust £5,000.

Julie Martin, the authority’s member champion for cultural heritage, said: “Each of these barns has a unique place in the landscape of Swaledale and in the social history of the farming communities that built them – and each one has its own story to tell. But many of them are in a bad state.

“Together, these two projects mean we will be able to work with farmers and residents in Muker Parish to help reverse some of that decline. At the same time, we will be able to record and share the buildings’ stories with our visitors

“The barns in Swaledale are a main attraction for tourists who come to the area from all over the world and we hope visitors will go away with a better understanding of why these barns are such a special part of this landscape.”

The project will involve volunteers and officers from the national park as well as input from the Keld Resource Centre.

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