Ravenstonedale Parish Council. Survey 1981
A Plan for the Future
4. Natural History
8. Travel and Transport
11. Social and Community Life
APPENDIX: Survey Form
The depopulation of rural areas has been known about for so long that it has become generally accepted and ignored, it is only recently that we have realised that unless something positive is done about it, village life as we have known it will disappear.
Central and local government have an important role to play in this, but it is in those villages that have faced up to their own problems and know what is needed, that help is likely to be most effective.
I congratulate the people of Ravenstonedale Parish for taking the initiative and for the thought and hard work which has gone into the Survey. Even as I write it is beginning to bear fruit.
Best wishes for your future.
Michael W. Sewell
Chairman Eden District Council July 1981
This appraisal has been compiled by people of Ravenstonedale parish for the people of Ravenstonedale parish, following a meeting organised jointly by the parish council and Voluntary Action Cumbria in the Autumn of 1980.
The idea of the appraisal was to draw together facts about the parish, to discover if there were any problems and find out from the local people how they thought life in the parish could be improved.
88% of the people of the parish responded to the household survey upon which this report is based.
The report has divulged a number of complex long term problems for which there are no quick solutions together with some smaller ones which can be tackled immediately. The organiser of the survey must be gratified that so good a response was made to the questionnaire.
Many of the suggestions may now be put to the various local authorities, organisations and agencies who may be able to help with solving the problems.
Whilst a great many of the ideas suggested are the responsibility of the parish council, it is hoped that many other people will take if upon themselves to share the work of helping to bring the ideas info reality. Only by co-operation between local organisations and amongst local people can any satisfactory results be achieved.
This report was compiled by an appraisal committee Consisting of;
Mr. & Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Barber, Mr. Balmer, Mr. Blezard, Mr.
Buchanan, Mr. & Mrs. Duff (Secretary), Miss Danson, Mr. Ellison,
Mr. Frankland, Mr. Thayne, Mr. Metcalfe-Gibson (Chairman), and Miss
Holden (Voluntary Action Cumbria). Grateful thanks are also due
to numerous people who helped with the distribution and collection
Ravenstonedale's dry upland, limestone, land with light forest was ideal for clearance by prehistoric man. The dykes and settlement at the Severals, near Park House, remain from this time, whereas the Romans built the Street in Fell End.
The Vikings from Norway gave the parish most of its place names and its patterns of scattered farms and two villages.
For 400 years until the Dissolution of the monasteries, monks administered the parish from the fortified manor house, or Sanctuary, the foundations of which are visible by the Church. They were followed by the Whartons of Wharton Hall who enclosed the deer Park at Park House with a high wall, moving the farmers out to Fell End.
Brig Cottage, Fell End, and Town-Head Cottage date from this period; both were originally thatched.
The Whartons built a beautiful school master's house on the Scar, and there are many other good examples of 17th century farm houses, in particular, Tarn House (l664). This was built by one of the oldest families in the dale, the Fothergills, some of whom also lived at Brownber.
The manor of Ravenstonedale was confiscated from the Duke of Wharton and sold to the Lowther family, because the Duke supported the Jacobites in 1745. Shortly before this event, the Church tower and nave had been rebuilt with a fine 3 decker pulpit. In 1703 the parish was said to have neither a gentleman nor a beggar.
An abundance of prosperity is indicated by a notable house with upper cruck roof timbers in Back Lane (1750), known as Manor House.
By the early 19th century, knitting had become an important family occupation, about 1000 pairs of socks leaving the parish every week. However, like so many other rural crafts, it was overtaken by mechanisation. Then, from the l860s, the dale's major industry, agriculture, started to decline, but outside wealth rebuilt much of Ravenstonedale village and raised four Victorian mansions, including Hwith, which has now been demolished.
Today farm amalgamations, steeply rising land prices, and holiday homes with easy access from the motorway have accelerated the decline in population and local services. The future maintenance of this beautiful parish in the Westmorland fells lies in the hands of a sadly-diminished number of resident families.
4. NATURAL HISTORY
We are fortunate in having a Parish and surrounding area rich in wildlife. Much of this is due to the relative isolation and low population which has allowed birds, animals, plants and insects to flourish without undue interference and destruction of habitats. The geology of the district, especially the limestone, has a considerable influence on the plant life giving us some rare species. The type of vegetation has a direct bearing on the insect and hence the bird life.
There are many books available which list the species found and it is not considered necessary to repeat these here. There are, however, a number of rarities which are worthy of note, e.g. fly, birds' nest and frog orchid, bladder fern, Scotch Argus butterfly, otter and badger. Roe deer, red squirrel, hedgehog, stoat, weasel and foxes are fairly common. Escaped mink are well established and cause a lot of damage to trout and salmon. As for birds we are lucky to have nesting golden eagles within flying range. More common are owls, woodpeckers, curlew (one of the largest breeding populations in Cumbria), oystercatcher, spotted flycatcher, peewits, buzzard, merlin, goldcrest, etc.
The Cumbria Trust for Nature Conservation is active in the area with a local support group at Kirkby Stephen where members living in this parish meet. The Trust owns and manages the thirty acre Smardale Gill Woods Nature Reserve which includes almost all the disused railway line running from Newbiggin-on-Lune to Smardale.
The planting in the past of small groups of trees has benefited
what is basically a now treeless moorland area. Continued small
scale planting of trees is essential to replace the present old
stands and individuals. This is particularly vital where Dutch Elm
disease is destroying many fine mature specimens. The percentage
of Elms is sufficiently high for their loss to be noticed within
the next two or three years. Some community action to replace these
and, in fact, to increase the numbers of trees would be of value
not only for the wildlife but for the general appearance of the
The survey revealed 174 households in the parish; 109 in Ravenstonedale
and 65 in Newbiggin.
Since the last full census in 1971 the population of the parish has declined overall:-
Population Change 1971-81
1971 1981 Change
Male 247 228 -19
Female 262 254 -28
Total 509 462 -47
1971 1981 Change
195 174 -21
An analysis of the population by age group revealed that in the ten year period there was a decline in the number of young children, a significant growth in the age group 25-39 and a slight decline in people over retirement age (over 60 years)
Age % of pop. Age % of pop. Change
(0-4) 7 (0-4) 4 -3%
(5-9)* 10 (5-10)* 12 +2%
(10-14)* 8 (11-15)* 7 -1%
(15-24)* 13 (16-24)* 11 -2%
(25-39) 15 (25-39) 21 +6%
(40-59) 25 (40-59) 25 +2%
(60-64) 4 (60-64) 7 +3%
(65+) 18 (65+) 13 -5%
* as near comparable as possible
In trying to make some interpretation of these figures, the picture they reveal is an interesting one. Many other rural parishes are characterized by an increasing elderly population; this is not the case in Ravenstonedale where the biggest growth has been in the young population (i.e. 6% growth in the 25-39 age group).
It is possible that in the last ten years there has been migration to the parish. 78 households have been living in their present accommodation for ten years and less; 44 of these have only lived in the parish for four years and less. Some of these households may have come from outside the parish. More than half of the latter number are in the 25-39 age group.
The other interesting factor to emerge is that the farming profession
is mainly providing the future generation of the parish. 52% of
children, ten years old and under, come from farming families.
Opportunities for employment in Ravenstonedale are limited and
general concern was expressed about the very poor job prospects
for anybody wishing to live and work in the district. The survey
provided some useful information about the employment situation
in the parish and some ideas as to what should be done about it.
Occupations The parish is fundamentally an agricultural community with 71 people in agriculture and related industries. Besides those in farming the parish supports 24 other people in different occupations. In total therefore 95 people work in the parish, out of a total of l48 of the working population (representing 64% of the working population identified from the survey). The list of occupations is as follows:
Farmers, market gardeners 71 Painters, builders,}
Professional and scientific 17 plumbers, joiners } 6
Clerical 11 Salesworkers 6
Food and catering 7 Managers 4
Shopworkers 7 Factory, council 4
Enqineering and allied 7 Craftsmen 5
The vast majority of farms and small businesses in the parish are family businesses which rely heavily on family labour. The opportunities for employment, even on a part-time basis, are therefore very few and far between.
The opportunities for employment in the parish are so rare, that, when a vacancy does arise, it is a matter of "Hobson’s Choice". In other words, a job is taken which happens to be available at the time - even if the type of work is not what is required, the job offers no training, the wages are low and there is little prospect of self-improvement or advancement.
As far as young people in the parish are concerned, it is clear that many leave the parish and are unlikely to return. Those who cannot rely on employment in a family business, such as a family farm, have little alternative but to travel long distances to work outside the parish. In view of the high travelling costs and the inconvenience, and furthermore the counter-attractions of town life, these young folk are likely to drift away from the parish.
A survey of the job opportunities within the parish indicates, that, with the possible exception of agriculture, there is limited scope for any person wishing to enhance his or her job prospects by acquiring any sort of skill, trade or other job qualifications. Anyone who seeks to acquire such skills or qualifications has no alternative but to leave the district.
The survey identified 7 unemployed people in the parish. However, the need for job opportunities cannot be measured by the number of unemployed alone, but must take account of the unsatisfactory location of much of the present employment and the tendency towards migration from the parish for work opportunities. There are lisa a large number of people who identified themselves as housewives who would gladly take part-time employment if this were available.
Place of Work
As might be expected from the employment figures, since a large number of people are employed in agriculture, the majority of people work in and around Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin (66%).
The remaining 34% find their employment in Kirkby Stephen, Kendal and places such as Orton, Penrith, Grange over Sands and away out of the County.
Place of Work Number Percentage
Ravenstonedale 57 41
Newbiggin 35 25
Kirkby Stephen 22 16
Kendal 15 11
Others 11 7
Travel to Work
Few people responded about their transport to work. Of those who did reply, 50 travel by car, van or share a lift, or use the school bus, when available, 5 walk and 2 travel by bicycle or motorbike.
It is possible that a larger number do in fact walk to work, but thought it too obvious to mention.
It is a well known fact that the numbers employed in agriculture have over the past years been declining substantially. The National Farmers Union said in the 1970’s that, "Agriculture in the latter part of the 20th century will seldom, if ever, be able to support a rural community on its own. The problem is acute, particularly in hill farming area. This is a situation which points to the need for a broader economic base for the rural community and a greater measure of support from the relevant public authorities who have a part to play in strengthening the rural economy".
The tendency to further farm amalgamations must also give rise for concern. If is felt by some that it has already proceeded too far and the loss of any farming family to the parish is a loss the parish cannot afford.
The solution to the current employment difficulties, with the almost total absence of job opportunities, appears to lie, to a large extent, in the creation of new jobs, by promoting the introduction and establishment of small businesses engaged in light industry or rural crafts. Tourism and holiday related industries may also have an important part to play in providing employment. It is also possible that certain small existing businesses could be expanded, by various means, such as improved publicity, and this in turn could lead to more job opportunities.
The Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas (CoSIRA) is currently investigating the possibility of introducing small businesses into the parish in buildings, at present unoccupied, which may be available and suitable for the establishment of such businesses.
The parish appraisal identified 7 buildings which might be suitable,
and details have been passed on to the CoSIRA office for further
action. In considering the conversion of existing buildings or the
erection of new buildings to house small businesses the appearance
on the landscape is important.
In answering the question "How many persons may need local employment in the next ten years?" 67 householders replied that 124 people would be in need of employment, which serves to indicate the scale of the problem which must be tackled.
The parish, as revealed by the questionnaire is solidly behind the creation of more job opportunities. 111 households revealed they were in favour; only 19 were not.
Many people (4l) said they favoured the development of light industry in the parish and 43 craft industries of a "solid" kind, such as property repairers and service trades people. 24 house-holders said they would "like to see anything at all, provided it created work". The problem was felt to be acute for school leavers and for young married women, for whom opportunities are limited even on a part-time basis. At least 30 children (at present in the 10-l4 age group) will be eligible to leave school within the next five to six years. Some will have no option but to travel away to work, or move out of the parish altogether.
One other suggestion was that the parish should receive an "advance factory".
On the question of tourism, many people suggested that there was scope for the development of modest holiday and caravan accommodation which could well be undertaken by farmers to supplement farm income and perhaps create more job opportunities.
1. The parish council pursue the offers of buildings for sale or rent with CoSIRA and Eden District Council, with a view to their housing small businesses,
2. The parish council pursue the idea of the development of advance factories or workshops in the parish.
3. Local farming population be encouraged to promote small tourism and forestry projects to supplement the farm income through the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Tourist Board and Countryside Commission.
4. The possibility for creation of job opportunities on farms through the Manpower Services Commission be explored,
5. Consideration be given as to how best to encourage entrepreneurs to set up in business, particularly in the crafts and trades sector.
The question was asked about tourism because it was felt that the development of tourism locally would help to boost the economy of the parish. The question was designed to gauge reaction to any further developments in the tourist line. Respondents came up with some interesting ideas as to how the provision for tourists might be improved.
One hundred and twenty households replied to this question, the majority in favour of the development of the tourist industry locally. Are you in favour of the development of tourism locally.
YES (hhlds) NO (hhlds)
Ravenstonedale: 46 Ravenstonedale: 29
Newbiggin: 26 Newbiggin 19
Several people suggested that a written guide about tourist facilities and the good food, natural beauty and historical association of the area should be produced. Signs on the new by pass, once completed shall point to the existence of the various places offering accommodation. The installation of public toilets somewhere in the parish would also provide an additional tourist facility.
One or two people felt that there was scope for more bed and breakfast accommodation not only in the villages but on the farms. It was also thought that school groups might be encouraged to the parish if there was hostel type accommodation, or a field centre offering courses for groups, as for example at Ashfell.
There seemed to be scope for the development of activities such as pony trekking and other outdoor sports, "guided walks" for adults and children during the summer, a nature trail could be created along the beck and footpath maps should be put on display showing where the available walks are. Someone suggested that a folk museum might be a good idea.
Many households mentioned that more caravan sites could be created, although with the provision that these should be small and "discreetly placed". Some people were against the further increase in caravan spaces. A shop selling post cards and souvenirs of the area might encourage the tourists to part with their money in the parish. In view of the advantageous location of the parish it would seem that there is a strong potential for some tourist development locally.
1. The parish council explore the possibility of publicising the places of interest in the parish by
(a) signs on the road/new bypass;
(b) producing in conjunction with the Tourist Board a written guide to the parish.
2. Encouragement be given to people to
(a) establish hostel type accomodation;
(b) bed and breakfast accomodation on farms;
(c) small caravan sites in suitable locations.
3. The parish undertake such activities as the creation of a beck nature trail, guided walks with the help of such bodies as the Countryside Commission and Voluntary Action Cumbria.
4. The parish council be responsible for the placement of a parish footpath map at some convenient points in the parish.
5. Eden District Planning Committee should be made aware of the support for barn conversions for holiday accommodation.
8. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
Public transport provision in the parish is minimal. Other than the school bus, only operating during school terms to Kirkby Stephen, there is only one return bus to Kirkby Stephen on a Monday and one to Kendal on a Friday.
From Kirkby Stephen and Tebay it is possible to catch buses to Appleby and Penrith by using the school buses, but the return connections are not easy.
The lack of public buses is reflected in the high level of car ownership in the parish. Out of 158 households who replied to the question on car ownership, 129 have one or more vehicles (car, van or landrover), 29 households have private transport of their own and of those the majority (20) were households over retirement age.
Anticipating the energy crisis and floods, one family also had a horse and a boat. Many families as well as owning a car had motor bikes and pedal bikes amongst their personal transport.
The statistics from the employment section show that 47 households use their car for work, but of those nearly half have more than one car. This means that effectively there are about 20 households reliant on public transport if they wish to travel about after the breadwinner has taken the car to work.
Comparatively few people in the parish are totally dependent on public transport, but it did not prevent 84 households saying that they thought the present bus service inadequate.
Do you think the present bus service is adequate?
Car owners 40 Car owners 76
Non car owners 6 Non car owners 8
It is possible that many people thought the bus service inadequate, not for themselves but for other people. The majority of people expressed no difficulties about transport; one or two had problems getting to and from doctors' surgeries, dentist, hospital, etc., others said it was impossible to get to work if their cars broke down and a few thought young people would find attending social events out of the village difficult.
One person supported the idea of fare paying passengers on the school bus, three suggested better stopping places for the "Primrose Bus" at the Fat Lamb Restaurant "somewhere between Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh" and "somewhere near either village", another suggested a mid week service to Kendal and a more regular service between Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh.
Improvements suggested were many and various - ranging from the establishment of a community bus (27 households), post bus (20 house-holds), car sharing scheme (15 households), more buses put on (10 households), local taxi service (10 households) to the establishment of a voluntary social car scheme.
Finally, a new consideration in the transport problem is petrol cost and high fares charged on buses.
It is not possible to make connection with the British Rail Service at Oxenholme via public transport. A limited connection is possible at Appleby and Penrith, but return the same day is not feasible.
Four people thought that it would be convenient to catch trains at Kirkby Stephen and Tebay Stations even if they were only re-opened as halt stops.
Another person suggested that a notice board should be placed in the parish giving details of bus/rail times and connections for Oxenholme.
Undoubtedly more people would use the trains
(a) if they could get to the station
(b) if there was better parking at the station
(c) if the trains stopped,
Taxis can be obtained at Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh.
Hospital Car Service
For patients unable to find transport to the Health Centre at Kirkby Stephen or to hospital, transport is provided through the Department of Health and Social Security at the Health Centre. Persons wishing to visit friends in hospital can obtain transport through a local car service run voluntarily for which a charge is made.
Highway Snow Clearance
Thirteen households criticised the inadequacy of snow clearance in the parish and the poor gritting service. The problem was particularly acute for residents in the Ashfell and Bleaflatt Lane area.
Many people commented about flooding at the Irish Ford at Town Head, Ravenstonedale.
1. For the small numbers of people entirely reliant upon public transport it is probably not realistic to expect a significant increase in bus provision by the existing bus companies, on the grounds of it not being economically viable. Ways and means should nevertheless be explored to help the few without transport by:-
(a) The establishment of a voluntary social car scheme for emergency
(b) Establishing a car sharing scheme for people to share lifts to common destinations.
(c) Taxi sharing scheme to enable people to get to and from railway stations.
2. The ideas about the stopping places for the "Primrose Bus" be taken up by the parish council with the bus company.
3. The feasibility of the school bus taking fare paying members of the general public be explored.
4. The parish council place notices about rail/bus times/co-ordination
in the two villages.
5. Complaints about the level of snow clearance/gritting be taken up with Cumbria County Council Highways Dept.
The majority of the residents in the parish expressed satisfaction about their own personal housing accommodation,
The statistics relating to housing in the parish are as follows:-
Household Accommodation Ravenstonedale Newbiggin Total
Private rented 50 25 75
Owner occupied 29 38 67
Provided by employer 5 3 8
Council 2 0 2
Compared to other places in Cumbria the percentage of rented property in the parish, 56% of the available accommodation, is very high. There are only two council owned properties in the parish.
Second Home Ownership/Holiday Cottages
Serious concern was expressed at the rapid increase in the number of holiday cottages and second homes, and the effect that this was having and would have in the future, on the life in the parish. People were particularly worried about the effect on property values making houses too expensive for local people and especially young people, to afford. The influx of holiday homes sharing an adverse effect on services of every kind due to the reduction of the permanent resident population.
Local trade is being badly affected, the school and even the Church/ Chapels might eventually have to close down. The social and recreational facilities of the community could deteriorate and the quality of life for people living permanently in the area could take a turn for the worse.
Young people unable to acquire suitable accommodation at a price they could afford within their native parish, would be forced to move away from the area. One effect of this would be to create a community having a preponderance of elderly people, who would be deprived of the assistance, protection and company of younger people.
The survey identified the following:-
Village Second Homes Holiday Cottages Total Ravenstonedale 9 7 16
Newbiggin 12 3 15
21 10 31
Although a high percentage of the housing stock is rented accommodation, the private rented sector is under pressure due to the security of tenure and relatively low rents enjoyed by tenants. In addition landlords are now able to obtain very high rents from holiday lets and when a tenant leaves, landlords will be strongly tempted to sell the house on the open market at a price which has been inflated by the demand for holiday cottages and second homes. Inevitably, therefore, more houses will be sold or let as holiday homes and fewer houses will be offered for letting to permanent residents.
Nevertheless the landlords can influence whether rented accommodation is let to local people or as holiday property, in the same way that owner-occupiers need not sell to the highest non-local bidders. In these respects some of the responsibility for the housing market rests with the community itself.
Length of Tenure
One hundred and forty-six people answered the question "How long have you lived in your present house?" More than half replied that they had only lived in their present accommodation for ten years and under. The other replies were as follows:-
Years Ravenstonedale Newbiggin Total
0 – 4 25 19 44
5 – 10 24 10 34
11 – 20 17 12 29
21 + 28 11 39
94 52 146
Little can be deduced from these figures, except that there appears to have been a considerable amount of movement to and from properties within the parish, especially by people in the 25-39 age bracket.
The survey also revealed a number of empty properties in the parish, which further research discovered were mainly awaiting occupants; other properties were situated several miles away from either village, possibly redundant farmhouses or farm cottages; some appeared to be vacant on account of an inadequate water supply,
Since there has been little new housing development in the parish in recent years and with growing competition from people requiring holiday accommodation, the housing situation for local people may become more serious in the future. It was felt, therefore, that any proposed new housing developments for local people should be treated favourably by the housing authority (Eden District Council) and the parish council.
1. The parish council keep a watching eye on the number of second home/holiday cottage properties.
2. Landlords be encouraged to let their property to those working in the area.
3. New housing applications for local residents be treated favourably by the parish council and Eden District Council.
Slaughterhouse Mobile Library
Builder Mobile Grocery
Plumber/Heating Engineer Primary School
Air Freight Service
Coal Merchant Shops
Private Home for the Elderly General Store
Cabinet Maker (Newbiggin-on-Lune)
Restaurant Post Office and Shop
Hotel/Public House (2) (Ravenstonedale)
139 households answered the question whether they were satisfied with services in the parish. 95 thought they were adequately catered for 46 did not.
The main area of discontent concerned the lack of adequate shopping facilities in the parish. 55 households felt there was a need for a shop in Ravenstonedale selling groceries etc., some thought that the parish needed an outlet for the sale of newspapers and milk. It was pointed out, however, that the previous shop was not well patronized.
Someone thought it very desirable for there to be more property repairers in the parish and another felt it would be advantageous to have a garage.
Refuse collection seemed to be a problem for one or two of the farms.
There are two medical practices which serve the residents of Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin-on-Lune, the Brough Medical Centre and the Kirkby Stephen Health Centre.
For patients without transport, there is a bus to Kirkby Stephen each Monday and the doctor from Brough visits the parish on Wednesdays. Any treatment needed at the clinics is catered for by the ambulance service based at Brough.
Health visitors are available at both centres and a social worker, based in Pehrith, visits both practices once a week.
At the Brough Medical Centre a baby clinic is held once a month,
a slimming club every week and an ante-natal relaxation class is
In the process of being started.
Kirkby Stephen Health Centre has a visiting chiropodist, a thrice weekly physiotherapist, ante-natal classes on a Friday afternoon and a twice monthly baby clinic. Facilities for children include a dentist, speech therapist, who both visit once a week and an optician who comes once a month.
Meals on wheels are served in the parish three times a week.
11. SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY LIFE
Clubs and Societies
The following meet regularly or are active during certain periods of the years
Women's Institute Show Committee
Young Farmers Band of Hope
Tennis Club Farmers Discussion Group
Bowling Club Farmers Sheep Meeting
Reading Room (Ravenstonedale) for Snooker & Table Tennis
In addition, church social events, bring and buys, domino drives, dances are frequently held either in one if the two public halls or in the Hotels.
Places of Worship
Parish of St. Oswald's, Ravenstonedale
United Reformed Church, Ravenstonedale
Methodist Chapel, Ravenstonedale
Chapel of Ease, St. Aidan's, Newbiggin-on-Lune
Methodist Chapel, Newbiggin-on-Lune
Methodist Chapel, Fell End.
The majority of people in the parish are completely satisfied with social and community life in the parish. Twenty-one households from a total of 135 were not satisfied. Amongst reasons put forward were the lack of facilities for young children and teenagers between the ages of 5-15.
For the young children, many people asked for safe play areas, in particular in Newbiggin; another thought the school play area might be improved.
Fifteen households suggested that there ought to be a youth club in the parish for teenagers and younger children, together with associated activities such as regular discos and sponsored events.
The adult population is happy with the social life in the parish although the provision of a squash court, another tennis court and organised trips to the theatre/concerts etc. would improve the quality of life. Several people thought that the public rooms in Ravenstonedale were inadequate and in need of improvement, but by and large it was felt more use could be made of the existing hall facilities. People felt generally that there was plenty happening in the village but the lack of publicity about local events could be improved.
1. The provision of youth activities requires commitment from the parents and interested individuals. Interested people with the help of Voluntary Action and the County Council youth service should try to establish a youth club and possibly associated youth activities.
2. The parish council pursue the provision of "safe play areas" in the parish with the help of the Cumbria Playing Fields Association from whom grants and advice may be obtained.
3. The views of people about the village halls be put to the respective
village halls committee for their consideration. If improvements
are to be made grants are available through Voluntary Action Cumbria
and material help possibly from the
Probation Service and the Manpower Services Commission Special Temporary Employment Projects.
4. An interested member of the community could organise special trips to local cultural events.
5. The creation of a parish bulletin would help the publicity of local events. The parish council be encouraged to establish a local newsletter.
The parish has a 3 teacher primary school in Ravenstonedale currently with 60 pupils.
In total there are 120 young people at junior/secondary and further education institutes from the parish.
Pupils mainly travel out of the parish to Kirkby Stephen for their secondary education.
The nearest further education centre is at Kendal, some 19 miles
away. In all 146 households answered the question "Are you
in favour of retaining the village school", of which all but
one were in favour. Many households commented "most strongly"
and '^definitely" in favour. Others commented "without
the school there is not the incentive for young families to move
to the area, or indeed stay. A viable school is
essential if "new blood" is to be attracted to the parish and "the village school teacher has an important part to play in participating in village activities with the children" and "the village school is an essential part of village life".
Present indications are that at present Ravenstonedale primary school is not under threat of closure.
There are at present no non-vocational further education opportunities in the parish. There was a call from one or two people for the organisation of night classes.
That the possibility of non-vocational F.E. classes be pursued either through the existing County Council F.E. tutor, the Women's Institute or independently locally with the help of Voluntary Action Cumbria.
The parish is situated in an attractive environment and for a number of years both Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin have been entrants to the Best Kept Village Competition, with some success.
A large number of people suggested that the appearance of the parish would benefit from more tree planting, particularly native trees. One respondent wrote "Conifers in the churchyard are gloomy. Would like to see more wild cherry, rowan, whitebeam, thorn, damson and spindle".
Litter and rubbish it was felt should be prevented from being dumped on Ashfell, on the village green at Fell bottom and removed from behind Greenhead. More litter bins placed at strategic places would help the litter problem in the villages.
Two people suggested that parts of the villages should be designated conservation areas; the footpaths should be better maintained; one person called for easier planning control on farm building conversions, another for stricter control on new farm buildings.
Dogs fouling footways was another problem which ought to be tackled and car owners should be prevented from parking their vehicles on the village green and running over the verges.
Seats could be placed at more convenient intervals for people to enjoy the village.
1. That the parish council and farmers with the help of the various grant aiding bodies - the Countryside Commission, Forestry Commission and Ministry of Agriculture undertake more tree planting in the parish.
2. The parish council request the District Council to undertake clearance of some of the large items of rubbish at various places in the parish; also put up "No Tipping" notices.
3. The parish council considers the desirability of
a) Designation of conservation areas in the parish.
b) Enforcement of byelaws (if any) to prevent dogs fouling churchyards.
c) Establishing measures to prevent people damaging the green and verges by indiscriminate parking.
d) Reviewing the state of repairs of the parish footpaths.
e) Considering the provision of seats in the parish (possibly in conjunction with Eden District Councils Manpower Service Commissions unit who make furniture of this type.)
Now that the parish appraisal is finished, the action must begin.
The appraisal committee gathered facts and figures about the parish and highlighted some of its problems.
At the end of each chapter some attempt was made to suggest remedies that might solve some of the difficulties.
Whilst it was recommended that the parish council should undertake some of the responsibility for effecting the action, many of the proposals will require the full participation of members of the community. Much can also be done without money necessarily being spent.
The publication of the appraisal has already resulted in talks
with various local authorities about the provision of accommodation
in the parish for prospective employers.
Although not all of the recommendations will be put into practice quite as quickly, the quality of life in Ravenstonedale parish can be improved if everyone