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Muker barns Muker barns in the hay meadows

A9 – Traditional field barns

By 2024, secure significant funding to repair, restore, and – where appropriate – find adaptive new uses for traditional field barns, particularly those in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Littondale.

How the local partners are doing on this objective

Progress: 9 traditional barns were restored in 2022/23. Three through Natural England’s Traditional Farm Building grant scheme; 3 through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme; 2 through the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership; and 1 through the National Park Authority with funding from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. A further 29 barns were converted into new uses.

Press Releases & Related articles:

21 June 2022Examples of recent barn restorations

21 June 2022 – All barns great and small! Dales’ ‘laithes’ receive a makeover

Rationale: Traditional field barns and drystone walls are a defining quality of this National Park but half of them are thought to be in poor or very bad condition.  The sheer number of buildings (>6,000) and length of walls (>8,000km), together with the absence of sufficient funding means not everything can or will be conserved.  But if significant new funding can be found, some of the most important examples can be targeted, especially in the two designated ‘Barns and Walls Conservation Areas’.  Recent changes to planning policies have created more opportunities to convert suitable roadside barns to housing or business uses.   Many other buildings are not suitable for conversion to intensive uses at all, so further effort is needed to stimulate more innovative and sensitive options to broaden the potential for adaptive re-use.

Lead partnerYorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Supporting partners:   Natural England; Historic England; Yorkshire Dales Millennium TrustRural Payments Agency

Further information:    Traditional Farm Buildings, Developing barns,

Cost over 5 years:        £7,800,000

Funding shortfall:         £7,300,000

Related objectives:       A3; A5, A6; A7, A8, B11, E2; E4; E9; F1

Ecosystem services: Sense of place and inspiration; Sense of history; Biodiversity,

Trade-offs: Works to traditional field barns – especially conversion to new uses – can have impacts on the landscape character (A3) and wildlife (C2).  Planning policies in the Local Plan provide a framework for these impacts to be balanced against the long term benefits of maintaining buildings in viable uses that, in many cases, will avoid declining condition and dereliction, together with securing wider social and economic public benefits from the new use.