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. 
 
Preparing for the online Chapters on Flora, Fauna and Freshwater Life we created a reference list of the hundreds of species name-checked in the book. These are listed by both Vernacular and Scientific names. The PDF, here, is a full list of all mentioned, with handy links to what an internet search might add to wider available information.
 

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.

2 - WEATHER AND CLIMATE Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Ken Cook and Ian Findley:

Ken Cook, retired Headteacher, Met Office Observer, Copley; Ian Findley MBE, retired Warden, local farmer and wildlife enthusiast.

The Pennines are unique in England as the only significant upland area not close to the sea, with climatic implications. Weather patterns in the Upper Dale on the Pennines have changed in the past 20 years.

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. 

4 - GEOMORPHOLOGY AND GLACIATION LEGACY Download Chapter in PDF View More

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.

5 - FLORA Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Heather Kelly and Bob Baxter:

Heather Kelly PhD, Teaching Fellow in plant physiology and ecology at Durham University, blogger.

Bob Baxter PhD, FRSB, SFHEA, Reader in the Department of Biosciences, University of Durham.

Upper Weardale has plenty of botanical interest, shaped by its unique history and variety of habitats and plant communities. Though far less well known than the Arctic-Alpine assemblage found in Upper Teesdale, the flora boasts national rarities and species typical of upland dales.

Preparing for the online Chapters on Flora, Fauna and Freshwater Life we created a PDF reference list for the hundreds of species name-checked in the book. For this Chapter, the FLORA list is by both Vernacular and Scientific names, with hand links to what an internet search might add to wider information on each.

6 - FAUNA Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Terry Coult, Stuart Priestley, David Raw:

Terry Coult, retired Principal Ecologist, Durham County Council,former Conservation Manager, Durham Wildlife Trust.

Stuart Priestley, Principal Ecologist, Durham County Council.

David Raw, a founding member of the Durham Upland Bird Study Group which for over 30 years has monitored key species in the area.

With contributions from Tim Barker, Dr Malcolm Birtle, Louise Hislop, Carol Inskipp, Mike Powell, Keith Robson.

The presence of a good variety animal species that have had a presence in Weardale, living or extinct, is covered in this chapter, except for aquatic species which are covered in Chapter 7, Freshwater Life.

Preparing for the online Chapters on Flora, Fauna and Freshwater Life we created a PDF reference list for the hundreds of species name-checked in the book. For this Chapter, FAUNA are listed by both Vernacular and Scientific names, with hand links to what an internet search might add to wider information on each. Entries for Freshwater Life, Chapter 7, are included in the FAUNA list.

7 - FRESHWATER LIFE Download Chapter in PDF View More

By Martyn Kelly, Michael Gardner, Paul Frear, Paul Atkinson:

Martyn G Kelly PhD, Environmental Consultant specialising in the   ecology of freshwater algae.

Michael Gardner, Freshwater Ecologist with the Environment Agency.

Paul Frear, Freshwater Fisheries Biologist for 40 years, specialising in their ecology and behaviour.

Paul Atkinson, Project Officer, Wear Rivers Trust.

From being reported in 1903, as a salmon river ‘ruined by pollution’ so that ‘there is nothing to be said about its angling’, the River Wear, and its tributaries has much to offer today to anyone interested in its natural history, as this chapter reveals.

Preparing for the online Chapters on Flora, Fauna and Freshwater Life we created a PDF reference list for the hundreds of species name-checked in the book. For this Chapter, entries for Freshwater Life are included in the FAUNA list, by both Vernacular and Scientific names, with hand links to what an internet search might add to wider information on each.

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?