Thornton Rust Kennel Field Trust has started a 100 club as a fund raising effort to save the Kennel Field not just for the villagers but for all those who love wildflowers and a special view over Wensleydale. (Above: Looking down from the Kennel Field to Thornton Rust)
The field, which is accessed from a footpath south of the village, acquired its name from the kennels which were used by the Wensleydale Harriers from the 1920s to the late 1970s.
The grassland in it had never been “improved” and so in spring there is a rich tapestry of wild flowers from marsh marigold in the wet areas to cowslips, early purple orchids, dog violets and pignut, the latter attracting tiny, black chimney sweeper moths.
The Kennel Field Trust was set up in 1999 to bring the field into public ownership and to restore it so that all could freely enjoy it. Villagers have put in many hours of voluntary work including restoring and maintaining a traditional barn, the mash house and an 18th century lime kiln. The kennels, however, were beyond redemption.
The Trust received one of the first grants awarded by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and has received another grant in 2017. For the first two decades this millennial project had sound finances partly due to income from agri-environment schemes. But that is no longer the case.
As the Trust is a charity if it cannot afford to pay the insurance the field would have to be sold to the highest bidder.
“This would mean access to enjoy the flower-rich grassland and fabulous views would be gone, and without the Kennel Field link people would no longer be able to walk the circular path above the village,” the Trust’s chairman, John Dinsdale, informed the villagers this week.
The cost of participating will be £12 a year, with the chance of winning one of three prizes at the quarterly draws. The objective of the fund raising is to cover the cost of insuring the field and the buildings within it which now costs about £450 a year.
For more about the Kennel Field see https://www.facebook.com/KennelFieldTrust