A CHARITY has launched an urgent 'Wild Ingleborough' appeal to help save the 'nationally important' landscape of the area.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to get public support for the restoration and protection of Ingleborough's nationally-important limestone grasslands and limestone pavements, and the area's unique flowers and plants. It says the area is the only place in the world where the tiny white stars of Yorkshire sandwort are found, just one of four places in the UK where you can see Teesdale violets, and one of just two places in Yorkshire where purple saxifrage grows.

And to give the appeal a boost, between April 18 and April 25, any donations on the Big Give website will be match-funded.

Ingleborough’s limestone pavements are so unusual that they host rare holly ferns, lichens and mosses, as well as patches of sweet-smelling wild thyme and rock-rose, the main food source of the rare northern brown argus butterfly, says the trust.

Rachael Bice, the trust's chief executive, said; “Ingleborough provides a critical haven for some of Yorkshire’s rarest limestone plants to flourish, and has the potential to be one of the most important limestone landscapes in the world.

“There is so much hope for the future of Wild Ingleborough and the wildlife that could thrive there if given more opportunity. Our partnership work, skills and expertise have the potential to make a real difference on a truly significant scale - but we are now in a race against time to save some of the last remnants of this area’s most vulnerable plants.”

It is estimated that Ingleborough and its surrounding landscape is home to a third of the UK’s plant species. The trust is cultivating the rarest of these limestone flowers, shrubs and trees at a special montane nursery where volunteers will help nurture plants from seed to plant back out into the landscape.

The Wild Ingleborough partnership team has also trialled harvesting and spraying fern spores from rare ferns directly into the limestone pavement grykes, and have abseiled down some of the mountain’s cliff faces to collect seeds from hard-to-reach plants.

At present, these rare species and habitats are confined to a few pockets of space across the mountain, offering very little resilience to changing weather conditions or threats, and making them highly vulnerable to more severe weather and the effects of climate change.

The trust, with the help of partners and landowners has plans to connect up wilder spaces spanning from the valleys right up to the top of Ingleborough itself, where wildlife can expand and flourish, and to restore and manage these connected places in such a way that these rarer species are given the best chance of survival.

Natural England has recently bought new land to extend the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve to protect more space for wildlife, and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has purchased two new nature reserves in the area – Ashes Shaw and Bellfield’s Pasture – thanks to generosity from the local community and supporters. Work has also begun to restore and reconnect 1,300 hectares of fragmented limestone grassland, upland woodland, peatland and limestone pavement to provide a greater space for nature to thrive.

Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, said: “With its flourishing limestone grasslands, home to colourful and abundant wildlife, Wild Ingleborough is an impressive landscape-scale restoration programme in the Yorkshire Dales that is on the cusp of reaching new heights for nature and climate resilience.

“At its heart is the soon-to-be-extended Ingleborough National Nature Reserve, acting as a battery pack for the Nature Recovery Network across the Dales and beyond, where internationally significant populations of wild plants thrive on some of England’s last remaining limestone habitat.”

To make a donation to the Wild Ingleborough appeal or to enquire about how you could give further support, visit www.ywt.org.uk/Wild-Ingleborough or call 01904 659570 and select option 1.

Wild Ingleborough has been selected by Big Give to run a Green Match campaign between April 18 and April 25. Donations to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Wild Ingleborough appeal on the Big Give website (https://bit.ly/WI-Big-Give) during these dates and the total will be doubled up to £10,000! #GreenMatchFund