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Traditional Field Barn Interior view

Traditional farm buildings

Traditional Farm Buildings (TFBs) are an integral part of the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Many of these buildings are important in their own right. They provide important historical evidence of vernacular construction and farming practices and often remain relatively undisturbed by modern interventions. They also make a major contribution to wider landscape character and scenic beauty of the area. This is particularly true of the 4000 or so field barns found throughout the National Park. This has led to the designation of two extensive ‘barns and walls’ conservation areas in Swaledale and Littondale.

As agreed by the Authority and a wide range of local partner organisations, the objective in the National Park Management Plan 2019-24 will seek to secure significant funding to repair, restore, and – where appropriate – find adaptive new uses for traditional field barns.

Historic England has identified the range and character of traditional farm buildings in each of the ‘National Character Areas’ in the UK. The National park Authority has assisted with the Traditional Farm Buildings Survey for the Yorkshire Dales area.

Despite their contribution to the landscape, many TFBs face an uncertain future. Many are no longer suitable for modern agricultural practices, leaving them without a use and little incentive to maintain them. Over the last 20 years grants to repair barns have helped to slow down the cycle of decline, as well as providing a valuable capital into the local economy. Unfortunately these grants are no longer available. There is now an urgent need to develop a strategy to ensure that these buildings are not lost from the landscape altogether.

How we can help

The Authority has published a Traditional Farm building toolkit which looks at the potential for maintenance in agricultural use, conversion to new uses, or even the potential to accept some further ruination and recycling of materials.

The developing barns webpage provides advice on how we can help with proposals to convert TFBs. We will consider a number of different uses depending on their location and the changes required to the building and its surroundings. Our planning policy will guide decisions on planning applications.