Living Uplands

Natural History of Upper Weardale


By Steve Gater

This first edition of The Natural History of Upper Weardale is written to inform, inspire and engage people who live, learn or work in Weardale and surrounding areas, and visitors from near or far.

Image (c) Drawing by Ewan Anderson

Individual chapters will be hosted online, a limited number of copies of the book are available from Durham Wildlife Trust and the plan is to make the edition available as an e-book. Further information, including references, useful resources, websites and a full list of binomial names of species mentioned in each chapter is also available online at the website.

Chapters are written by contributors, with key local knowledge, who are experts in their field. Each is a separate, authoritative explanation and celebration of the Dale and suggests that there is still more to learn about what we see today and much to be done to conserve what we cherish. Whilst Weardale has not received as much interest or scientific enquiry as some other areas, it is well-loved and frequently visited. The landscape, physical and living, is unique in many ways. But different pressures threaten the Dale’s economy, culture, landform, habitats and wildlife. Change is inevitable, that’s what happens in nature. But human decisions and actions will shape the type and extent of change. If we want our children, and future generations, to enjoy the area as we do today, their best interests should be at the heart of development and future conservation strategy. We have a choice. Let’s hope Weardale benefits from decisions and actions that are well-informed, enlightened, joined- up and that support a living Dale.


The publication of this book and has been made possible by generous funding from the Living Uplands project, Durham County Council and Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT), to whom much appreciation is offered.

The authors of this book, have freely provided time and expertise to research, write and support the project. Their writing has been informed by views of knowledgeable local residents and others. Thank you to all. Credit is given against all illustrations and images freely given to enrich the book – thank you to everyone for your expertise and generosity. Thank you to Judith Mashiter of Mosaic Teesdale Ltd for her enthusiasm, expertise and patience. Thank you to the Living Uplands team and DWT for leading the project and for ideas, encouragement and support. Many others have also helped in various ways. Thank you all for your kindness. Every effort has been made to seek permission to use illustrations and data; if a mistake has been made it is mine and I ask that you contact me to make any correction. Finally, thank you for reading this edition and enjoy learning more about this wonderful Dale. You can follow development of the Living Uplands project online.

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.