Introducing Wild Ingleborough: meet the team

Abbi and Dwayne are Project Assistants on Wild Ingleborough, a flagship nature restoration project to showcase ‘alternative future’ for Yorkshire’s uplands.

Hello! We’re Abbi Woof and Dwayne Martindale and we work as Project Assistants for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the very exciting, brand new Wild Ingleborough Project.

Over on the Western side of the Yorkshire Dales National Park are Yorkshire’s Three Peaks: Whernside is the largest, Pen-y-ghent the smallest, and in the middle there is Ingleborough. The land around Ingleborough is big, open and breath-taking. The great limestone pavement looks more like the surface of the moon than the earth, and only increases your feeling of being in a truly wild landscape.

Limestone pavement (Wild Ingleborough)

(c) Andrew Parkinson

But the reality is that this land is not as wild as it should be. In fact, it has been influenced by people for many centuries, and you can see that influence all around you. In recent decades, high-intensity farming has stripped the land to its bare bones. The stark, grey limestone pavement dotted with just a few solitary trees should be lush, green and filled with flora and fauna. The efforts of Natural England’s Ingleborough National Nature Reserve (NNR) team have shown what’s possible: with reduced grazing pressure, trees and shrubs take hold, beautiful wildflowers start to flourish, and wildlife increases.

Yellow globeflowers in bloom amongst the limestone pavement and restored grassland at the foot of Ingleborough mountain in the Wild Ingleborough landscape © Joseph Gray, WWF-UK.jpg

(c) Joseph Gray

We want to bring the wildness back to Ingleborough, and this exciting project will start to do just that! There are three other people on the Wild Ingleborough team: Project Officer Liz Coates, Stakeholder Development Officer Paul Brady, work for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with us, and George Porton works for Leeds University as a Research and Monitoring Officer.

The Project is made up of a variety of different partners including Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (who are leading the project), Natural England, United Bank of Carbon, Leeds University, Woodland Trust and WWF. The partners bring together a strong team with a broad range of expertise, local knowledge and resources to help the project achieve its vision: to restore a wildlife rich landscape which has strong links to the local communities and heritage.

Wild Ingleborough team on limestone pavement

Wild Ingleborough will see the restoration of peatlands and the expansion of native woodland and scrub to remove and store carbon, helping to tackle the climate emergency. The project will initially cover 1,200 hectares and plans to be one of the first examples in England of re-establishing the natural tree line, from broadleaf woodland to dwarf shrub and montane species.

The project will connect existing nature reserves in the area, creating a bigger, more joined up space for wildlife. In some places, vegetation will regenerate naturally, while in others the project will connect areas of woodland through tree planting. Over the next 12 months, the project will create around 40 hectares of new woodland, with half created by planting 30,000 trees and the other half through natural regeneration.

Abbi and Dwayne dry-stone walling (Wild Ingleborough)

Since coming into post on the project, the team have carried out a variety of tasks. We have put dry stone wall on the existing Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves, planted some trees on Ingleborough NNR, helped with moving the very gorgeous cattle owned by Natural England, completed a butterfly transect along Scar Close and, to top it off, we both have completed our Sit-In ATV course. We have also been carrying out site visits on the new land to assess the condition of the walls and to get a sense of the lay out of the land as well as what wildflower species are currently present or starting to appear.

Wild Ingleborough logo