The Yorkshire Dales: historic features onlineA national park’s outdoor curios are going on display – online.

Thousands of minor noticeable features of the Yorkshire Dales national park, ranging from milk-churn stands to sheep creeps, are being logged and featured in a project run by the park authority.

The Yorkshire Dales: historic features online 

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority already has details of 29,000 major historical features, such as barns, old houses and lime kilns, but work has begun on cataloguing the smaller items which characterise the Dales countryside.

Selections will appear on the authority’s website on a special page entitled Feature of the Season.

Miles Johnson, the authority’s countryside archaeological advisor, said: “Many of the features were part of the everyday farming landscape but none has been recorded before.

“They all add to the special character of the national park and the main reason for putting them on the website is to make them more accessible to people who may want to learn more about them and may be interested in understanding the Dales landscape in more detail.

“Many are now disused and some are threatened so, by recording them in the HER [Historic Environmental Record], we have a detailed list that will help us and other organisations to preserve and conserve them and will enable people to learn about them too.”

Volunteers started recording the items in February last year. So far, 100 milk churn stands, hennery piggeries, where hens and pigs were kept, and turbary stones marking peat-cutting grounds, have been recorded. 50 stock underpasses have also been logged.

Mr Johnson said: “We needed to collect information about small-scale historic features but, obviously, these small buildings and structures are almost impossible to locate from maps or aerial photographs.

“The idea was to use the Dales Volunteer’s interest in, and knowledge of individual parts of the Dales to collect the detailed information.

“Revisiting some of the features already recorded has shown that there are serious threats facing some of them.

“For example, one of the churn stands recently disappeared when a farm track was widened and one of the buildings is threatened with demolition in the near future while others are showing sign of structural decay.”
The Feature of the Season items can be seen on the historic environment section of the authority’s website.