STORIES in Stone, a £2 million four-year programme of conservation and community projects focused on the Ingleborough area, was officially launched last week.

The event was held at Broadrake Farm, near Chapel-le-Dale, and was attended by around 40 people from a wide range of organisations and local groups.

The scheme’s recently appointed chairman, Steve Garland, a consultant in the museum, heritage and environmental sector, said: “I’m delighted to be involved with Stories in Stone.

"The scheme builds on the enormous enthusiasm and love that local people and visitors have for this amazing landscape, and the skills and experience of landowners in managing it. All are very welcome to get involved with the scheme at whatever level they want, from suggesting a project, to volunteering, to helping to manage the scheme.”

The next meeting of the Local Supporters’ Group (LSG) will be held on Wednesday in Horton-in-Ribblesdale Village Hall.

The LSG is an informal group that meets every three months to look at aspects of the Stories in Stone scheme and to find out about community involvement opportunities. The meeting is open to the public and will start at 7.30pm, with refreshments available from 7pm.

Stephen Ward, LSG chairman, said: “Stories in Stone provides a range of opportunities for residents and visitors to get involved and to contribute to the area’s management and protection. It also provides financial support for landowners and groups wanting to restore an aspect of natural or built heritage.”

Stories in Stone is largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will support the conservation of the area’s natural and historical heritage, give people a better understanding of it, improve access to it, and train people to manage it.

The scheme has been developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, which is led by the Clapham-based Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. The partnership also includes the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust, Natural England, Hanson UK and Tarmac Ltd. Landowners, farmers, educational establishments, parish and district councils, businesses and local history and community groups are also involved in the scheme.

It will deliver a wide range of projects and activities such as restoration of field barns, dry stone walls and wildlife habitats and will involve people in archaeological digs, digital archiving and collecting oral history.

It will also support local people and groups wanting to look after their local area, provide formal and informal training opportunities, offer new learning opportunities for local schoolchildren, deliver events and activities to celebrate the local heritage and improve physical and intellectual access to the area and its heritage features.