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Viewing swaag.org 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***** 608
 Date Entered 17/09/2012
 Updated on 17/09/2012
 Recorded by Tim Laurie
 Category Tree Site Record
 Record Type Archaeology
 Site Access Public Access Land
 Location Birkdale Common, Uldale Gill Head, Lodge Hags.
 Civil Parish Muker
 Brit. National Grid 
 Altitude 635m
 Geology Remnants of once continuous 2-4m deep blanket peat peat on Namurian grits.
 Record Name Tree remains at base of deep peat at Uldale Gill Head.
 Record Description This record is an introduction to a programme of research currently being undertaken by two Dissertation Undergraduates from the University of York working under the supervision of Dr Rob Marchant designed to throw some light on the vegetational history of Upper Swaledale. Two seperate peat cores totalling some 4.0m in depth were obtained. Site 2 from the a layer 1.5m deep peat, the remnant of deeper peat partly eroded. This remnant of old deep peat was located immediately above the tree remains at Tarn Level. Pollen Sampling Site 1 was located to core the relatively undisturbed blanket peat on the slope immediately west of the peat infilled tarn- like basin from which Uldale Gill emerges. There were few tree remains below this peat which was around 2.5m deep. This area is of particular interest in that a very large area of fossil tree remains have been exposed where the overlying peat has been eroded down to but not below the tarn surface water level which is close to the base of the 3-4m deep overlying peat. Macro remains of scots pine, willow and birch have been identified. All tree remains are very stunted, thin and calloused branch material reflecting the highly exposed and windy conditions of this place which was at or close to the contemporary altitudinal limit of trees.
 Dimensions see photos
 Additional Notes The peat cores will be subjected to intensive study. Pollen samples will be counted at intervals to determine woodland composition and the peat will be examined to determine the varying conditions of deposition. It is to be hoped that this research will reveal the local and general climatic and vegetational development from the onset of peat formation at an early date following the final retreat of the Devensian Glacial Ice. The existence of Pine, Willow and Birch at this high elevation (635m) is mirrored by similar finds from peat on the summits of the Southern Pennines. The highest record of Pine in this study (on Holme Moss) was at a mere 520m AOD whereas the pine remains at Uldale Head are at 635m AOD! An altitudinal record for this tree in British peat perhaps. Reference: Tallis, J.H. and Switsur, V.R. Forest and Moorland in the South pennine Uplands in the Mid Flandrian period. Journal of Ecology (1883), 71, 585-600
 Image 1 ID 3325         Click image to enlarge
 Image 1 Description Pollen sampling site 2. Remnant peat directly above the tree remains at tarn level
 Image 2 ID 3326         Click image to enlarge
 Image 2 Description Pollen sampling site 2. Work in progress.
 Image 3 ID 3327         Click image to enlarge
 Image 3 Description Pollen sampling site 2.
 Image 4 ID 3328         Click image to enlarge
 Image 4 Description Pollen sampling site 2.
 Image 5 ID 3329         Click image to enlarge
 Image 5 Description Pollen sampling site 2.
 Image 6 ID 3330         Click image to enlarge
 Image 6 Description Pollen sampling site 2.
 Image 7 ID 3331         Click image to enlarge
 Image 7 Description The approach to Uldale head passing remnant islands of peat. Each with a halo of bare un vegetated ground showing rapidity of erosion.
 Image 8 ID 3332         Click image to enlarge
 Image 8 Description The approach to Uldale head passing remnant islands of peat. Each with a halo of bare un vegetated ground showing rapidity of erosion.
 Image 9 ID 3333         Click image to enlarge
 Image 9 Description The approach to Uldale head passing remnant islands of peat. Each with a halo of bare un vegetated ground showing rapidity of erosion.
 Image 10 ID 3334         Click image to enlarge
 Image 10 Description The approach to Uldale head passing remnant islands of peat. Each with a halo of bare un vegetated ground showing rapidity of erosion.
 Image 11 ID 3335
 Image 11 Description The approach to Uldale head passing remnant islands of peat. Each with a halo of bare un vegetated ground showing rapidity of erosion.
 Image 12 ID 3336
 Image 12 Description Uldale Beck head. Source of the Swale.
 Image 13 ID 3337
 Image 13 Description The Tarn
 Image 14 ID 3338
 Image 14 Description The Tarn
 Image 15 ID 3339
 Image 15 Description Pollen Site 1
 Image 16 ID 3340
 Image 16 Description Pine layer. Pollen Site 1 in distance.
 Image 17 ID 3341
 Image 17 Description Tree remains, all very small- thin and stunted trees grew here at their altitudinal limit.
 Image 18 ID 3342
 Image 18 Description Tree remains, all very small- thin and stunted trees grew here at their altitudinal limit.
 Image 19 ID 3343
 Image 19 Description Tree remains, all very small- thin and stunted trees grew here at their altitudinal limit.
 Image 20 ID 3344
 Image 20 Description Section of pine
 Image 21 ID 3345
 Image 21 Description Section of pine.
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