Mew, shippon, baulk, forking hole. These are all words associated with one of Nidderdale AONB’s most characteristic features – the traditional field barn. The field barns were originally used for housing cattle over winter and storing hay. Grass, cut close by was dried and stored in the barn, reducing the need to transport hay back to the main farmstead. Despite their importance, many barns face an uncertain future. Modern agricultural practices mean many are no longer fit for purpose, leaving them without a use and farmers with little incentive to maintain them.
Dry stone walls are another key landscape feature in the AONB, defining ancient boundaries, enclosures or more recent property changes. In the upland areas field enclosures are formed by stone walls built in Millstone grit and are a striking features of the landscape.
Some field walls are amongst the oldest man made features of the Dales landscape but most of those still in use were built during the last 500 years.