We had an absolutely glorious day in West Burton with a group of nine Dales Volunteers and two job experience teenagers yesterday. The aim was to both check up on their skills as guided walk leaders and introduce them to the Dairy Days walk routes and research that we are in the middle of preparing.
Project Officer Karen Griffiths and Community Archaeologist Doug Mitcham were joined by local Sally Stone who has contributed an oral history recording of her life on farms in Walden.
We had a couple of indoor sessions: one looking at the background to the project and the range of walking trails being developed that the volunteers might adapt into Guided Walks, the other examining the results of the archaeological and built heritage survey work that Doug has been managing.
Of course, we also had a walk along part of the trail we are planning up Walden, Sally Stone talked about her memories of milking at Town Head Farm.
Doug and Karen then showed the volunteers the medieval field systems lying along the parish boundary between Burton cum Walden and Newbiggin before having a peer inside a derelict barn with its cattle booses (stalls) still visible.
We had a delicious dairy-themed lunch supplied by Humble Pie in Askrigg before repeating the whole session with the rest of the volunteers. We hope to run a second training day later in the year and with any luck there will be dairy days themed guided walks in next year’s national park events programme.