Video kiosk delivered to Muker

We were delighted to finally be able to hand over the specially purchased video kiosk to Andrew Green at the Muker Literary Institute yesterday. Our Every Barn Tells a Story videos are now ready to share – we just need to convert them into a suitable format for the player.

The Institute is already proudly displaying the framed poster and barn photos. They all complement the wonderful display of old photos of Muker currently on show.

Last ride for Ghost Cows (and calf)

The two ghost cows and their calves have spent the winter in Keld and our Bainbridge office. One calf is being kept by the community but the time has come to find the others a final home. Grassington Festival have asked if they can have them so we went to collect them yesterday in a horsebox belonging to a member of staff.  It was quite an adventure!

Cow and calf loaded up in Keld
Second cow loaded up at Yoredale office, Bainbridge

We hope they enjoy their new home in a laithe (not cowhouse!) in Grassington

School worksheets

We’re pleased to say that our online education pack is almost ready to launch. We’ve proofed all the worksheets and they are full of fun facts and things to do on the cowhouse theme.

We’ll publish them as downloadable PDFs shortly. Watch this space!

Usha Gap photos

The Every Barn Tells a Story project is now drawing to a close with just a few more things like the school work pack and our videos to be finished off.

We’re always delighted to see how people are using the resources we’ve already produced of course, and loved these photos of our cowhouse posters and framed photos  now on display at Usha Gap campsite recently sent to us by the campsite owner.

Field Barn Surveying Training

Two training weekends were held in December and January as part of the Every Barn (Cow’us) Tells a Story project. The course provided the attendees with an introduction to field barn surveying techniques, including digital photogrammetry.

Field barns are an important feature in the Yorkshire Dales, and are one of the special qualities of the National Park. The aesthetic and historical value of the field barns within the landscape of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale has been recognised as nationally important due to its designation as a Barns and Walls Conservation Area (the largest conservation area in the country).

There are over 600 barns in the parish of Muker, Swaledale

Due to the modernisation of farming techniques and the resulting changes in agricultural practices, many of these field barns are becoming obsolete. Barns that are not being used can easily start to deteriorate. As a result barns are becoming ruinous, while others are lost due to conversion for domestic or holiday use.

This barn is still in use and you can see signs where it has been adapted over time – including a blocked doorway and the addition of a corrugated leanto

This loss of such a distinctive landscape feature in Swaledale and across the whole of the National Park makes it incredibly important to survey and enhance our knowledge of these barns. Surveying can help uncover the story of the barn, as well as giving crucial updated information on its condition. However, if this is to be achieved volunteers are essential.

This building was possibly a former farm labourer’s cottage or even a former smithy – not a barn but still a building where they could practice methodology and try to uncover its use

The first weekend was an introduction to the field barns that could be found in Swaledale, this included the volunteers learning lots of new terminology for the multitude of external and internal features. They were also given an introduction to surveying methodology and were able to practice all the new techniques learnt over the two days in small groups.

It is important that surveys provide useful information to enhance records, this includes measurements

The second weekend offered an introduction to photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is where you use digital photographs to make a 3D digital model of the object on a computer. These models are a great visual resource, and can be incredibly useful for surveying. (Examples of models can be seen here.) The last day was an overview and allowed the attendees to focus on what they most wanted to, whether it was survey forms, terminology, photogrammetry etc.

Attendees learnt how to use Agisoft – software that can be used to create photogrammetric models

We want to say a massive thank you to the attendees for attending the workshops despite the cold and wet wintry weather. We received some great feedback –

“The course and team engaged me in the aims of the National Park Authority whilst simultaneously providing the ideal venue and beauty of the Yorkshire Dales”

 “Fantastic and Useful”

 “A very interesting and engaging four days. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenters. Learnt a lot”.

The Every Barn Tells a Story project is coming to an end, but through weekends like this a better understanding of field barns is promoted and skills are transferred in how to survey them, which is all part of the project’s legacy.

Despite the multitude of field barns that can be found in Swaledale they provide such a variety of information when you look closely at the detail

Banty barn interpetation panel

Our ranger Michael Briggs has just sent these rather fab photos of the Banty Barn panel we’ve installed on the Buttertubs Road  – it’s the first item from the project that many visitors will come across when the arrive in upper Swaledale so we hope people find it informative and that it inspires them to find out more about the project.

Every Barn project postcard

Way back when the project outputs got underway at the beginning of 2017 we produced a postcard for visitors telling them all about what the local cowhouses were for.  This was as a result of talking to local tourism businesses who told us that their visitors were always asking what the little buildings in the fields were for. We distributed copies of the card at the start of the holiday season to visitor businesses and asked them for feedback.

Every Barn Tells a Story postcard
Every Barn Tells a Story postcard

Based on that feedback, almost the last thing we have produced for the end of the project has been a new postcard which businesses will be able to use throughout next year. It’s smaller and has better labelling of all the parts of the cowhouse and there is more room on the back for people to write messages. We hope everyone likes them.

Final Every Barn… postcard