The uplands of England are often seen as areas of outstanding natural beauty with many upland communities dotted throughout. Such communities are best known for farming and most uplands are grazed by sheep and the surrounding land is used for other livestock. These landscapes are also incredibly popular for tourists and help many small communities survive as people flock to them to walk, run, cycle and just enjoy the surrounding scenery. Small businesses rely heavily on tourism throughout the uplands but it is also important to look after these areas for the sake of the wild flora and fauna.
Many small communities run programmes with schools in which the children can experience the wilderness of their uplands whilst bird counting, litter picking or surveying other species. Communities here are usually very close-knit, hardworking and care about their surrounding areas.
Living Uplands along with Durham Wildlife Trust and Teesside University is undertaking a project looking at plastics in the River Wear, source to sea, and engaging communities on what can be done to reduce pollution.
Taking a view across the Natural History of Upper Weardale, Durham Wildlife Trust Director, Jim Cokill, considers the challenges and potential for conservation in the Dale.
In an official study most people agreed that natural spaces are good for mental health and wellbeing. More than 40% noticed that nature, wildlife, and visiting local green and natural spaces have been even more important to their wellbeing.
Over the coming months further chapters will be available online, following this first Chapter on "people". The Natural History of Upper Weardale will be a valuable companion to the previously published and highly appreciated History of Upper Teesdale.