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Visit the Dales


Dales Volunteer, Margaret Emmott

How long have you been a volunteer?

I have been a  Dales Volunteer for about six years. I started visiting the Dales with my young family in 1975 and have been coming here ever since. I bought a house in Upper Wensleydale in 2003 but did not find out about the Dales Volunteers until a few years later.

Why did you want to become a volunteer?

I thought becoming a Volunteer would be a good way of putting something back into this place which has given a lot of enjoyment to me and my family.

What do you do as a volunteer?

As a Dales Volunteer I go out drystone walling twice a month. We repair walls and stiles on public rights of way, working in all weathers and frequently getting covered in mud by the end of the day! I also do footpath and bridge surveys.

I sometimes attend practical days, helping the Rangers to do specific tasks and have helped with painting a room at the Dales Countryside Museum. In addition I have helped with surveys - asking the general public a lot of questions for the National Park Authority in Hawes and in the DCM car park.

In the summer I do some guided walks in the north west and north east of the National Park. I am also a member of a small group of volunteers who run a regular weekly walk for the Property bond people at Askrigg.

The Red Squirrels at Snaizeholme require feeding twice weekly and I help with that task when I can.

I have recently become involved with the woodlands surveys and have been out counting trees in very dodgy terrain where recent plantations are found.

What’s been your greatest achievement as a volunteer?

My greatest achievement is undoubtedly the drystone walling. I am proud to be able to say that I helped to build various walls around Dentdale, Sedbergh and Upper Wensleydale. These walls will be standing long after I am gone.

Where is your favourite place in the Yorkshire Dales National Park?

My favourite place in the Dales is my home in Sedbusk. From my house I have wonderful views in all directions - I can see mountains to north and south, and from my side window upstairs I can see a long way down the valley of Wensleydale. Today the hay meadows are bright with buttercups and sorrel, the drystone walls are silvery in the sunlight and the scattered barns in nearly every field look solid and ancient. The sheep are mostly Swaledales up here and look very attractive with their black faces and curly horns.

Why would anyone want to live anywhere else but here?

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