People & the DALES

Diversity, Access, Learning, Environment, Sustainability

People and the DALES is a pioneering project that was launched in 2009 to give disadvantaged and disabled groups of people the opportunity to visit the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. Participants take part in activities, enjoy the magnificent landscape and learn new skills.

Managed by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, the project involves groups in fun, active, thought-provoking activities, helping them learn about the natural environment, gain new experiences, forge new friendships, improve their health and well-being and encouraging independent visits to the Dales.

The groups we work with come from nearby urban areas of Leeds, Bradford and North West Lancashire. People taking part include those with a disability, young people from inner cities, people from ethnic minority groups, individuals from deprived locations and people with mental health difficulties.

Groups enjoy being involved in:

  • Day visits – such as nature walks, environmental activities, kite flying, craft activities and farm visits
  • Practical work – dry stone walling, path laying, woodland management and work on a hill farm
  • Residentials – for those that would benefit from a night away from home
  • Training - for community group leaders.

People and the DALES aims to inspire groups to continue taking part in outdoor activities back home. We also encourage people to return to the Dales independently, by providing training for key members of community groups on how to organise their own future visits, and building better links between rural and urban community groups.

How we work

People and the DALES is run by three dedicated members of the YDMT team. The team includes Judy Rogers and Gail Smith, our Project Community Workers, and Dave Tayler the Project Manager.

Where possible group activities are supported by the provision of outdoor clothing and help towards transport or residential costs.

Between 2009-2013 the project was funded thanks to a grant of £198,000 from the Big Lottery Fund ‘Access to Nature’ programme, administered by Natural England. The project is currently funded by YDMT as we develop future programmes.

The project also benefits from a Partnership Steering Group which helps to oversee the project and includes staff from Natural England, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Field Studies Council at Malham Tarn and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

YDMT contributed to learning papers produced by Natural England through the Access to Nature grant programme. These papers highlight People and the DALES as one of the main national projects helping to increase participation in the natural environment by minority ethnic communities. You can read the papers here:

Recent news

In 2016 the People and the DALES team have  helped co-ordinate two hosting weekends, giving groups of refugee and asylum seekers the chance to spend the weekend living with host families in Skipton and Malham. You can read all about it here:

Find out more

Find out more about what the People and the DALES project has achieved so far, and our plans for the future here

People and the DALES now has its very own website where you can find useful walk, visitor and travel information as well as more information about the project and the people involved. Visit the People and the DALES website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Get in touch

If you’re part of a community group and want to find out more about taking part in People and the DALES activities contact us.

Read the latest People and the DALES Newsletter

Read a summary of the first phase of People and the DALES