Living Uplands

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

Foreword View More

Phil Gates PhD, retired Senior Lecturer in Botany at Durham University, author, photographer, naturalist and Guardian Country Diarist for County Durham for over 30 years.

Introduction View More

Steve Gater PhD, formerly Chair of Durham Wildlife Trust, has enjoyed discovering the amazing landscapes, fauna and flora of County Durham and North East over the past 50 years. 

1 - PEOPLE Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Ian Forbes and Rob Young:

Ian Forbes MBE, retired Director of Killhope Lead Mining Museum.

Rob Young PhD, former Historic England’s Inspector of Ancient Monuments (N E England), freelance archaeological specialist.

3 - BEDROCK GEOLOGY Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Brian Young:

Brian Young, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Durham, retired British Geological Survey District Geologist for Northern England.

Buried beneath the Dale, but reached by deep boreholes, are rocks dating from around 450 Ma (million years) ago formed when the area that was to become Northern England lay far south of the equator.  These include slates that originated as mud on the floor of a deep ocean, and volcanic rocks and granite formed as the earth’s tectonic plates collided and destroyed this ancient ocean around 420 Ma. 


By David J A Evans:

David J A Evans, Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Durham.

Despite being a region that has been cloaked in glacier ice many times during the ice age, the physical landscape of the North Pennines is strongly controlled by the structure of its bedrock.

All the illustrations from Chapter 4 have been listed in this downloadable PDF to provide a larger format to explore.

8 - CONSERVATION Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Jim Cokill:

Jim Cokill, Trust Director at Durham Wildlife Trust since 2008.

Earlier chapters in this book consider some aspects of conservation. This chapter focuses on the wider aspects of wildlife conservation, and that of social history and why we should care for the future of Weardale.

There is a lot in Weardale to be conserved — outstanding geology, important wildlife, built and social heritage in a living Dale that is a home and source of income for many. Today we take nature conservation granted – but should we?