Meadow Connections - the Yorkshire Dales festival celebrating hay meadows

PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 July 2018

Competitors from across the region and the UK will take part in the Northern Scythe Championships Photo: Tony Crossland

Competitors from across the region and the UK will take part in the Northern Scythe Championships Photo: Tony Crossland

Copyright: Tony Crossland Photography

The Northern Scythe Championships are a highlight of this year’s hay meadows festival.

Herbal medicine walk with Helen Rideout and Heather Ware Photo: Tony CrosslandHerbal medicine walk with Helen Rideout and Heather Ware Photo: Tony Crossland

A weekend-long festival celebrating upland hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales is back for its second year with a packed schedule of talks, workshops and demonstrations. Meadow Connections offers the chance to learn new skills and crafts such as scything, dry stone walling, weaving and pottery, as well as a traditional ceilidh and feast night for all the family.

‘We hope to help people engage with the ancient hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales – a precious habitat that is becoming increasingly rare,’ said Ruth Pullan, Meadow Connections organiser. ‘The festival was such a success last year that we wanted to run it again with the same mix of informative workshops and talks, all in the beautiful surroundings of Lower Winskill Farm, Ribblesdale. With camping, delicious local food and a range of activities on offer, we’re looking forward welcoming people of all ages once again to come and make fond memories for the future.’

Meadow Connections is one of 110 events that make up the 2018 Flowers of the Dales Festival, coordinated by local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT). The festival, supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery, celebrates the region’s special wildflowers and natural environment.

The Trust’s Flowers of the Dales project officer, Leah Galloway, said: ‘Ruth and the Meadow Connections team are passionate about the landscape, wildflowers and traditional crafts that help make the Yorkshire Dales special. It’s a great event that gives people the chance to learn something new in a beautiful relaxed environment, surrounded by spectacular scenery. This is exactly what the annual Flowers of the Dales Festival is all about.’

Meadow Connections begins on Saturday, July 14th with workshops including:

- Flora and fauna identification with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

- Enamelled jewellery making with local craftswoman Emily Knight

- Weaving with local textile artist Richard Moriarty

- Introduction to scything with Chris Riley

- Dry Stone walling with Dave Purvis from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

- Drawing with nationally renowned Settle-based artist Margaret Uttley

- Coil pot making and pit firing with Ken Jaquiery

- Herbal walks and talks with Helen Rideout and Heather Ware.

New for this year are short talks about small scale dairying and artisan cheese-making given by Simon Fairlie of Monkton Wyld Court, a sustainability centre and off-grid farm in Dorset, and Andy Swinscoe from the Courtyard Dairy near Settle.

Saturday is rounded off with a traditional ceilidh of music, story and dance featuring special guest musicians from Yorkshire-based folk band The Moonbeams Collective, and a feast of delicious local ingredients. Sunday, July 15th is open farm day, with informal talks about life at Lower Winskilll Farm from owner Tom Lord, and a chance for visitors to get involved with helping to turn, stack and bring in the hay (weather permitting).

The weekend finishes with the 2018 Northern Scythe Championships, which will see competitors from across the region and the UK demonstrating their skills as they compete for the title.

Meadow Connections tickets are limited and must be bought in advance. For more details, go to meadowconnections.co.uk, email meadowconnections@gmail.com or call Ruth Pullan on 07951 399176.

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