Living Uplands

Natural History

The Natural History of an area is the sum of all its parts. Upper Teesdale and Upper Weardale would be described as 'Uplands'. That one word description does not do justice to the variety and diversity of life and nature in these areas, often unique and particular to one place. They are as different to one another as they are to Exmoor, which is also 'Upland'; even though most people would not generally think of Exmoor in the same way as the North Pennines, or Yorkshire Dales. 

There are a great many aspects to Natural History. It is a story of people and landscape, of what lies beneath and flows through, and of what lives and grows within the rich diversity of Uplands' life. 

We start with the The Natural History of Upper Teesdale which has seen five editions and is now web accessible for the first time. This book, the fifth edition published by Durham Wildlife Trust in 2018, has been described as the "standard reference work on the area's natural heritage for years to come".

The first edition of The Natural History of Upper Weardale is now available. It provides a valuable companion to the Upper Teesdale book. We have had the advantage of being able to design this to be available in print from Durham Wildlife Trust and, over the coming months, accessible on this website. 

In time, we plan to add specific areas that explore aspects of the region's Natural History in greater depth. Beginning, appropriately, with a deeper look at the region's geology, the Fairy Hole Caves in particular. 

Meantime, there is more to explore on our Wildlife, Landscapes and Communities pages. 

Natural History of Upper Teesdale


The latest edition of "The Natural History of Upper Teesdale" was published by Durham Wildlife Trust in 2018. This book was described in the North Pennines AONB Consultation for the area's management plan 2019-2024 as "the standard reference work on the area's natural heritage for years to come". We have translated the content of this publication for the web, to encourage wider reading and research access. 

Copies of 'The Natural History of Upper Teesdale' are available from the Durham Wildlife Trust.

Natural History of Upper Weardale


This new publication compliments the outstanding "Natural History of Upper Teesdale", the latest edition of which was published in 2018 by Durham Wildlife Trust. This too takes a whole view of a remarkable upland area. In the Foreword to Natural History of Upper Weardale, naturalist Phil Gates notes that: "It is an inspirational Dale for anyone who loves landscape, rural communities, history and natural history." He adds: "I thought I knew it pretty well, having trod so many miles of its footpaths, until I read this book: it has reminded me that there is so much more here to learn and to marvel at."

Over the coming months chapters will be uploaded to the website. The first, on the People of Upper Weardale is available. Meantime, copies of both books are available for sale from Durham Wildlife Trust.

Image: Sheep at road - a living dale (c) Tracey Laing