The work by Thornton Rust villagers to conserve the ecology and history of the Kennel Field has now been celebrated with an interpretation board thanks to a grant from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT).
The interpretation board (above), produced by Shelley Designs, was installed on the renovated Mash House by Paul Sheehan of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and two Kennel Field Trustees, David Preston and Deborah Millward.
The board includes photographs of the Mash House (used to cook food for Wensleydale Harriers hounds) and a mid-19th century field barn before they were restored by villagers with the help of one of the first grants awarded by the YDMT over 20 years ago. The kennels used by the Wensleydale Harriers from the 1920s until the late 1970s were, however, beyond redemption.
The grassland in the Kennel Field had not been improved and so in spring has 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.
In 2017 the Kennel Field Trust won a highly recommended award of £4,000 in the Conservation, Heritage and Environment category from the YDMT when the latter was celebrating its 20th anniversary celebration.
This has been used to carry out environmental improvements in the Kennel Field, erect a new fence, purchase a wooden bench which is now near the Mash House and produce the interpretation board. The artwork engraved on the bench by Daniel Thornton-Grace was created by one of the trustees, David Pointon.
Another trustee and its treasurer, Graham Darlington, wrote much of the text for the interpretation board.
At the meeting of the Kennel Field Trust on January 22 it was agreed that, following the untimely deaths last year of David Pointon and Graham Darlington, to ask their respective widows, Pip Pointon and Penny Noake, to become trustees. Lynda Denny also agreed to become a trustee with the added responsibility of taking over as treasurer.
The Trust’s chairman, John Dinsdale, and Deborah asked Pip and Penny if they would like a tree planted in a corner of the Kennel Field in memory of the service their husbands had given. Both agreed and asked if Janet Thomson (another trustee) would also like a tree for her husband, Mike Thomson, who died in January. This offer has been accepted.
The Kennel Field Trust was set up in 1998 to bring the field into public ownership and to restore it so that all could freely enjoy it. There is an 18th century field lime kiln near the western entrance and details about how that was used are included on the interpretation board.
The Kennel Field can be accessed from the car parlk in the Outgang, the lane opposite Thornton Rust village hall. Villagers have carried out extensive restoration work at the Outgang and there is an interpretation board by the car park to explain how the area was used by farmers in the past.