Living Uplands

New Plants Learning Resources for Year 1 pupils

30th May 2024
The scheme of learning has been specifically designed by educational professionals and botanical experts to offer a comprehensive and adaptable set of easy-to-use lessonresources.

Preserving Ratty’s uplands’ reserve.

16th Apr 2024
Living Uplands has worked with Durham Wildlife Trust on the Naturally Native project which focused on one of the great threats to an iconic Water Vole, popularised as 'Ratty'. The American Mink is an invasive species and voracious predator.

Black Grouse restoration and conservation.

25th Mar 2024
Living Uplands has a particular focus on collating data in the Uplands. Collecting data over time provides an ability to consider what might be impacting across the landscape by reviewing trends and changes within the information collated.

Garden preparation for winter and wildlife.

2nd Nov 2023
Before you tidy the garden for winter, here are some basic natural ways to help wildlife survive the cold months ahead..

Gaze to the stars

12th Oct 2023
The North Pennines Stargazing Festival returns, with more than 30 events between Friday 20 October and Sunday 5 November..


29th Sep 2023
Sometimes rural vandalism hits the headlines. Sadly, vandalism is no stranger to our uplands and needs more attention from the authorities.

Time detectives

29th Aug 2023
Recently, the Tyneside Metal Detecting Association visited some fields in Weardale. Every tiny piece found provides another fragment of the history of Upper Weardale. What did their finds tell us.

Extending our knowledge of Weardale's Fairy Holes.

18th Aug 2023
Cavers have been exploring the full extent of a Weardale's Fairy Hole cave system.

Seventh annual Bird Count

18th Jul 2023
An annual survey of bird numbers in the uplands is in its seventh year. Nature Rangers and Young Rangers from Durham Wildlife Trust joined an expert land manger to conduct the count and report on the health of birdlife in the Weardale uplands.

Building data – BTO bird count a welcome addition.

3rd Jul 2023
To be able to know what to improve to assure efforts are targetted and both time and money is well spent, and to be able to demonstrate improvement, it all starts with collecting as much information (data) as may be available.

FIre risk increasing

14th Jun 2023
It is not just hot weather that is increasing the risk of fire in the uplands. That dry spells seem to be longer, and hotter than previously is added to the increased prevalence of deliberate fire starting. Carelessness, and thoughtlessness doesn't help.

St Beuno's curlew

21st Apr 2023
The story of St Beuno and the curlew is a lovely tale on World Curlew Day 21 April.

Being Wildfire Ready

24th Mar 2023
A new County Durham Wildfire Group held its first formal meeting in Bishop Auckland, end of February 2023..

Back to schools

17th Jan 2023
Living Uplands FREE educational resource packs are being used to teach habitat and life for endangered birds in the Weardale uplands. Great to see in-person visits back after all the covid restrictions and time spent catching up on lost learning.

Dark skies, starry nights

1st Nov 2022
The North Pennines is a great place to go gazing at the stars.

A whiter shade of pale.

5th Oct 2022
One story is that the "Fairy Hole' caves of Weardale are named because of these pale creatures in the waters.

Living Uplands’s sixth annual bird count.

22nd Aug 2022
Living Uplands's annual bird count takes place early May and early June. Durham Wildlife Trust Young Volunteers joined with the second count, and gained a great opportunity to learn about Weardale upland birds.

The Short-eared Owl is the subject of our New FREE education pack.

25th Jul 2022
The graceful and nomadic short-eared owl is the subject of the latest Living Uplands FREE educational resource.

Weardale's Annual Tractor run 2022

4th Jun 2022
Over 70 tractors embarked on the drive through Weardale

The Queens Jubilee Beacon lighting

4th Jun 2022
We were very privileged to be able to host one of the 1500 beacon lightings

Winning Pics

10th May 2022
Our photographic competition winners from March 2019 were finally able to spend their prize morning on a Black Grouse lek in Weardale.

Under foot

11th Apr 2022
At this time of year extra care is needed when enjoying the upland outdoors; ground-nesting birds are especially vulnerable.

Be wildfire aware

23rd Mar 2022
Wildfire has the ability to devastate 1000s of acres of our upland landscape. Be wildfire aware, and let the Fires Service know if you know anyone deliberately starting a fire in the countryside.

Some answers, and more questions from pilot plastics survey.

24th Jan 2022
A pilot study would only provide a start point. In this Source to Sea

Irrecoverable natural capital

1st Dec 2021
A recent report on areas of the world that are carbon rich shows the risk to losing areas that have taken centuries to capture vast stores of carbon.

Future innovation required

23rd Nov 2021
Living Uplands participated in the recent Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, exploring a better understanding of land and water in the Durham region.

Practical science – Schools explore Source to Sea

26th Oct 2021
While Teesside University analyse water and sediment samples from the River Wear, Durham Wildlife Trust has been out with local schools undertaking litter surveys at points along the riverside.

Plastics – Source to Sea

1st Sep 2021
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.

A fresh look at Freshwater life in Weardale

25th Aug 2021
From being reported in 1903, as a salmon river 'ruined by pollution' so that 'there is nothing to be said about its angling', the River Wear, and its tributaries has much to offer today to anyone interested in its natural history.

A rich diversity of Weardale fauna.

12th Aug 2021
Wolf, Wild Boar, and Aurochs (wild cattle) no longer roam Weardale, the hunting forests of the Bishop Princes gone, but there remains a wide and varied diversity in the fauna of the region.

Five-Year bird count milestone

26th Jul 2021
Living Uplands has reached a small milestone, with the fifth consecutive bird count with Durham Wildlife Trust. This annual exercise is building a valuable data set of birdlife on a particular section of upland moor.

Botanical interests

30th Jun 2021
Upper Weardale has plenty of botanical interest, shaped by its unique history and variety of habitats and plant communities.

The changing weather in Weardale

28th Jun 2021
The Pennines are unique in England as the only significant upland area not close to the sea, with climatic implications. Weather patterns in the Upper Dale on the Pennines have changed in the past 20 years.

Talking about Conservation

10th Jun 2021
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.

Geomorphology. Bedrocks.

27th May 2021
Despite being a region that has been cloaked in glacier ice many times during the ice age, the physical landscape of the North Pennines is strongly controlled by the structure of its bedrock.

Enjoy the great outdoors, responsibly.

30th Apr 2021
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.

Underneath the surface of Upper Weardale

15th Apr 2021
The latest chapter to be uploaded to the Natural History of Upper Weardale is on "Bedrock Geology", what could be described as the foundation of our landscape. What lies beneath the surface shapes and influences what we see above.

The Natural History of Upper Weardale - opening online

31st Mar 2021
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.

Just published - the Natural History of Upper Weardale

11th Mar 2021
The Natural History of Upper Weardale will be a valuable companion to the previously published and highly appreciated History of Upper Teesdale.

NEW - Education Pack on Curlew

4th Feb 2021
The magical curlew is the subject of the latest Living Uplands educational resource. This new pack provides for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils, with lots of activity and learning for the classroom in school or at home.

Natural History content is live.

17th Dec 2020
Content for the Natural History section of the website has been under development over recent months. First to be added is an online access to the Natural History of Upper Teesdale book, the most recent edition published by Durham Wildlife Trust.

Helping out the community

3rd Dec 2020
An update on some local charity work to help support local communities and their businesses.

The Lapwings' Diary

26th Oct 2020
Our photographer kept a diary of a number of Lapwings, from April to June, to add a little colour and additional information to the basic data the annual count provides.

The return of 'Ratty'

12th Oct 2020
Collated data and research was used to develop a strategy to halt the decline and aid recovery of the water vole across the Tyne, Wear and Tees; and a successful application to National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the Naturally Native project.

Free education resources available

8th Oct 2020
Free to use education resource provides teacher plans and pupil activity for Key State 1 & 2. Easy to download. First pack now available, more soon.

Moorland canvases

1st Sep 2020
Winners and runners-up in the "Views of Weardale" photo competition have each received a canvas copy print of their winning image. We hope that this memento will take pride of place on their walls.

Understanding the origins of 'blanket bog' on our Uplands.

10th Aug 2020
Blanket bog represents around 6% of UK land, and the popular view is that these expanses were created by early human populations clearing forest. Research suggests that climate rather than land-use history might explain blanket bog distribution.

Two thirds of upland birds on endangered list.

23rd Jul 2020
Across four years of data collection, the range of birds counted includes two-thirds that are on either the red or amber BTO endangered list.

Living Uplands 2020 Competition Winners and Runners up

9th Jul 2020
Announcing the winners and runners up of our 'Views of Weardale' competition

A time of promise on the Uplands

10th Jun 2020
The promise of new life on the Uplands makes spring an early summer a wonderful time of year.

Year 3 of Bird Monitoring programme

2nd Sep 2019
The third year for Durham Wildlife Volunteers undertaking an Upland bird count.

Going underground.

16th Jul 2019
Exploring the fascinating underworld of the "Hypogenic Caves of the North Pennines UNESCO Global Geopark"

Beneath the surface

10th Jun 2019
Exploring the fascinating underworld of the "Hypogenic Caves of the North Pennines UNESCO Global Geopark"

Birds at risk

25th May 2019
Returning to count birds for the third year, the young volunteers learned of challenges ahead for endangered birds on the moor.

Hopes for better weather and healthier season

25th Apr 2019
2018's bitterly cold winter, late spring, and scorching summer meant the breeding pattern for our birdlife was severely disrupted. But a mild autumn and light winter might hold promise for a better 2019.