Bishopdale farmers join scheme to beat severe flooding in Yorkshire Dales hotspot

Flooding in Bishopdale valley. Picture: Environment Agency.
Flooding in Bishopdale valley. Picture: Environment Agency.
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Some 2,500 trees have been planted as efforts are stepped up in the Yorkshire Dales to protect homes and farms from flooding.

Various natural flood management techniques are being relied upon in Bishopdale, a side valley of Wensleydale, to slow the flow of water down the valley.

Five farms have signed up for their land to be part of the Environment Agency-led project so far, leading to nine ‘leaky dams’ and a wall or ‘bund’ of earth being created.

Other measures include peatland restoration, waterside buffer strips being installed and floodplain grazing to help counteract run-off water when Bishopdale Beck - a tributary of the River Ure - overflows.

Three hundred metres of the beck which ran underground has been brought out into the open and more than a mile of fencing has gone up to stop grazing livestock from damaging embankments.

The beck runs south of Kidstones to join the Ure downstream of Aysgarth Falls, and spells of heavy rain can see it to quickly overflow and cause flooding across a 16 sq mile area.

The main road through Bishopdale, the B6160, can become impassable, leaving residents of villages such as Kidstones and Newbiggin cut-off from schools, doctors’ surgeries and shops.

Simon Stokes, project manager at the Environment Agency, said: “This project showcases how working in partnership can deliver a noticeable increase in resilience to flooding for communities.

“Bishopdale is helping to lead the way in using natural flood management techniques to improve the environment for both people and wildlife.”

The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are partners in the project.