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A Swaledale Hay meadow by Wendy McDonnell

Tees-Swale: naturally connected

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and North Pennines National Landscape are working with local partner organisations to implement this major natural heritage project which focuses on the landscape and communities of Upper Swaledale and Upper Teesdale. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Tees-Swale: naturally connected is a truly ground-breaking initiative that collaborates with farmers and landowners across an 845 sq km area to put farming at the heart of nature and nature at the heart of land management.

A special place

60% of the project area is UK Priority Habitat. This includes 400km2 of blanket bog, and around 30% of the UK’s remaining species-rich upland haymeadows. Even outside the areas of priority habitat, the extensive tracts of rushy-pasture, white moor and in-bye grassland are vital for England’s breeding wader population, notably red listed species such as curlew, lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher.

Tees-Swale: naturally connected was inspired by the report ‘Making Space for Nature’ and aims to restore, expand and connect habitats across the uplands of Swaledale and Teesdale, enhancing wildlife and delivering multiple public benefits.

The collaborative approach sees the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the North Pennines National Landscape working together across two designated landscapes and involves farmers, landowners, conservation organisations, communities, volunteers and partner organisations. The public benefits delivered will include climate change mitigation, flood-risk management, and tackling biodiversity loss.

Our Work

Through close partnerships between landowners, farmers and conservation bodies, we are delivering nature recovery on a grand scale, including:

  • Restoring at least 1,000 hectares of degraded blanket bog;
  • Restoring at least 225 hectares of rare species-rich upland hay meadows;
  • Creating at least 200 hectares of native broadleaved woodland and scrub;
  • Creating 40 new on-farm wetlands;
  • Improving water quality in up to 200km of rivers by mitigating pollution from diffuse metals;

Other species that will benefit from the programme include some of our most charismatic upland wildlife – black grouse, water vole, brown trout, brown hare, and the rare and declining arctic-alpine flora of Upper Teesdale.

For more information about the full programme of work visit the North Pennines National Landscape website .


The map below shows the boundary of the project area in red:

Tees-Swale Project: naturally connected, boundary


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If you have any questions about Tees-Swale; naturally connected or would like to be included on the events mailing list please contact Isabel Thompson, Tees-Swale Farming and Nature Officer on 07825 934365 or