Living Uplands

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.

Introduction View More

Introduction by Lord Barnard DL

Most of the land in Upper Teesdale belongs to the Raby Estate or to the Strathmore Estate. The Dale lies within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding National Beauty (NPAONB) and 8,800 hectares forms the Moor House–Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve. Many areas are covered by specific designations to protect and conserve them. In 2017 the Northern Echo profiled Lord Barnard DL and the Raby Estate.

See the NPAONB site: for visitor information.

Please recognise and respect the fact that the countryside is a farmer’s home and workshop and that all land belongs to someone, even if you have a right of access. Follow all guidance provided, including the Country Code and codes for specific activities, including water sports. Please give generously to the local economy.

1 - People Download Chapter in PDF View More

People by Tom Gledhill

Tom Gledhill is a landscape archaeologist. He completed his Phd at Sheffield University on the Woodland History of North Yorkshire. He was a Regional Historic Environment Advisor for Natural England in the North East, and now works as a Heritage at Risk Officer, Historic England North East.

Tom maintains a strong interest in the ecology and history of the North Pennines and Upper Teesdale in particular. He is Chair of Teesdale Special Flora, a charity which focuses on the unique flora of Teesdale.

In this chapter Tom looks at how human settlement has shaped the region.

2 - Weather & Climate Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Ian Findlay

Ian Findlay MBE, a retired warden, local farmer and wildlife enthusiast, brings local knowledge of the way weather and climate has impacted on Upper Teesdale. 

3 - Bedrock Geology Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Brian Young

Brian Young is a Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Durham. Here is gets to the how the diversity of what lies beneath the ground has shaped what is above. 

4 - Geomorphology and Quarternary glacial legacy Download Chapter in PDF View More

By David A J Evans

David Evans, Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Durham, explains how the underlying bedrock has helped shape the features of the Upper Teesdale landscape. 

5 - Flora and vegetation Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Margaret E Bradshaw

Margaret Bradshaw MBE PhD is a retired lecturer, University of Durham, and an unrivalled expert on the unique Teesdale Assemblage. She has recently established the Dr ME Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research & Conservation Trust which has a website and Facebook page

6 - Origins and history of Teesdale flora Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Margaret E Bradshaw and Judith Turner

Margaret Bradshaw is joined by Judith Turner, PhD: retired lecturer, University of Durham, to explore the creation of what is the remarkable Teesdale Assemblage. 

7 - Fauna Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Ian Findlay and John Coulson 

Ian Findlay and John Coulson PhD, a retired Reader in Animal Ecology, University of Durham and author of 'Gulls (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 139)' published 2019 by William Collins, offer a comprehensive review of the fauna of Upper Teesdale. 

8 - Freshwater Life Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Martyn G Kelly, Trevor D Crisp, Ben Lamb and Brian Whitton 

Martyn Kelly PhD, environmental consultant specialising in the ecology of freshwater algae, Trevor Crisp PhD, (now deceased) formerly research scientist, Moor House National Nature Reserve, Ben Lamb, manager of the Tees River Trust, and Brian Whitton, Emeritus Professor of Botany, University of Durham, together provide a dive into the waters of the River Tees, its tributaries and features along the way. 

9 - Conservation Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Stephen Trotter

Stephen Trotter is CEO of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and formerly Director (England and Living Landscapes) Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, with a longstanding knowledge of Teesdale. He considers the special place that is Upper Teesdale and the challenges ahead for nature and conservation efforts.