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Viewing website implies consent to set cookies on your computer. Full details Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number 1155775
SWAAG Honorary President:
Tim Laurie FSA

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 *****SWAAG_ID***** 644
 Date Entered 22/11/2012
 Updated on 24/11/2012
 Recorded by Tim Laurie
 Category Tree Site Record
 Record Type Botanical HER
 Site Access Public Access Land
 Record Date 26/03/2006
 Location Fremington Edge
 Civil Parish Reeth
 Brit. National Grid NZ 0397 0061
 Altitude 400m down to 305m
 Geology Steep talus slope below scarp formed by the Main and Undersett Limestones.
 Record Name Relict yew woodland on the slopes below Fremington Edge
 Record Description A small yew wood at Cuckoo Hill NZ03970061 (centre) and scattered yew trees on the upper slopes of the escarpment (see photos) together with the relict yews which survive on the limestone scars on Fremington Edge can be considered to provide evidence for the one time existence of species-rich limestone ashwood across the whole of the westerly facing slopes below Fremington Edge. These slopes are now at first glance fairly barren of trees, except for the yews described here and a fair number of very old and isolated hawthorns, for example the ancient thorn at the Hidrake Vein below Fremington Edge photographed below, which have resisted ring barking by starving rabbits. The existence of a number of early lead smelting sites (Lead Bales), including several very large Bale Sites, on the upper slopes indicates that the woodland once present was quickly cleared by early lead smelting operations which required large quantities of wood for fuel. Yews, being resinous, and juniper were avoided by early charcoal burners and may also have been disregarded for lead smelting.
 Dimensions See photos
 Geographical area Swaledale North Bank Catchment
 Species Yew
 Additional Notes Most yew trees throw up several stems or trunks from a large and ancient root bole which is invisible, hidden below the limestone scree fragments covering it. It is impossible to guess the age of these trees since whenever they lose a branch they can replace it. They are however of very great age. Trees on the slopes in later secondary woodland in Lower Swaledale, as at Whitcliffe Wood, near Richmond are usually single stem, maiden trees and never very large. All really ancient yews are multi stemmed as these below Fremington Edge. The most ancient multi stemmed yews survive as stunted trees which grow on the top edge of cliffs.
 Image 1 ID 3714         Click image to enlarge
 Image 1 Description Fremington Edge from the road to Hurst and the White House
 Image 2 ID 3716         Click image to enlarge
 Image 2 Description Two solitary yews on the upper slopes east of Cuckoo Hill
 Image 3 ID 3715         Click image to enlarge
 Image 3 Description Two solitary yews on the upper slopes east of Cuckoo Hill
 Image 4 ID 3717         Click image to enlarge
 Image 4 Description 
 Image 5 ID 3702         Click image to enlarge
 Image 5 Description The relict yew wood fragment at Cuckoo Hill
 Image 6 ID 3703         Click image to enlarge
 Image 6 Description The relict yew wood fragment at Cuckoo Hill
 Image 7 ID 3704         Click image to enlarge
 Image 7 Description The relict yew wood fragment at Cuckoo Hill
 Image 8 ID 3705         Click image to enlarge
 Image 8 Description The relict yew wood fragment at Cuckoo Hill
 Image 9 ID 3706         Click image to enlarge
 Image 9 Description Detail of the multi stems of the large yews rising from the scree in the dark interior of the wood.
 Image 10 ID 3707         Click image to enlarge
 Image 10 Description 
 Image 11 ID 3718
 Image 11 Description Ancient hawthorn at the Hindrake Lead Mine, a survivor of previous mixed woodland once widespread on the slopes below Fremington Edge, perhaps.
 Image 13 ID 3720
 Image 13 Description Once these ancient thorns disappear, there will be no record of their existence as evidence for the presence of woodland cut to provide fuel for the lead industry
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