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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***** 936
 Date Entered 01/08/2016
 Updated on 04/08/2016
 Recorded by Tim Laurie
 Category Tree Site Record
 Record Type Archaeology
 SWAAG Site Name 
 Site Type 
 Site Name 
 Site Description 
 Site Access Public Access Land
 Record Date 31/07/2016
 Location Birkdale Common. Foxholes.
 Civil Parish Muker
 Brit. National Grid NY 84255 01916
 Altitude 500m
 Geology Eroding Peat Mire with remnant hags (remnants of 1.5m deep blanket peat dissected by many branching gutters or deep channels formed by low energy sikes or seasonal streams). This extensive blanket peat mire has formed over millstone grit and sandstone strata of Late Carboniferous, Namurian Age.
 Record Name Muker CP. Birkdale Common. Fox Holes. Pine stump possibly humanly worked. Below 1-2m deep peat.
 Record Description Single fossil pine stump in situ on ground surface of an actively eroding gutter within an area of blanket peat which is 1-2m deep.The pine tree was of relatively slight diameter and was clearly stunted, close to the altidudinal limit of trees in this highly exposed location. This pine stump bears what appear to be the clear cut concave facets from a stone axe indicating that it has been humanly worked during prehistory for firewood. This interpretation is tentative and not yet confirmed. Slight remains of thin-stemmed stunted birch are present at the base of some peat sections at Fox Holes. No other pine stumps have been located here. This indicates that this tree stump is that of an isolated stunted pine tree located within a mainly treeless area, with some birch scrub but otherwise mainly open of trees. The underlying rock strata being sandstone is deficient in plant nutrients and any soil present would not have supported woodland except for scrub and very stunted trees.
 Dimensions See photos.
 Geographical area 
 Scientific Name 
 Common / Notable Species 
 Tree and / or Stem Girth 
 Tree: Position / Form / Status 
 Tree Site ID 0
 Associated Site SWAAG ID 0
 Additional Notes Fossil pine is uncommon under peat in the catchments of the Ure and Swale whereas pine is relatively frequent elsewhere in Pennine Blanket Peats. This reflects the predominantly limestone strata of the Swale and Ure Catchments below 500m. Limestone soils support mixed deciduous woodland. To the south, Nidderdale has more sandstone at both high and lower levels. The rapid onset of Peat formation and probable Age of this Pine Stump across the Pennine Uplands. The Boreal/Atlantic Transition: The pine stump grows directly on the mineral soil below the base of the 1.5m deep blanket peat. This small tree was almost certainly overwhelmed by the initial onset and rapid growth of peat mires across the Pennine Uplands at around 5,500BC (7,500years ago). The onset and rapid growth of blanket preat across the Pennine Uplands at this time was initiated by climatic change- from a more Continental (warm and dry) climate to a more Oceanic(warm and wet)climate. This climatic change is termed the Boreal/Atlantic Transition. The presence of one or more zones of very dark, highly humified peat which has lost all plant structure and so very different from the rapidly growing fibrous peat marks periods of dryness with no peat growth and with drying out of the peat surface. References: Sir Harry Godwin. 'History of the British Flora.' Second Edition 1975. Cambridge. Reference:Tallis, J.H. 1983. ‘Forest and Moorland in the Southern Pennine Uplands in the mid Flandrian Period’. Journal of Ecology, Vol 71.
 Image 1 ID 6801         Click image to enlarge
 Image 1 Description Muker CP. Birkdale Common. Fox Holes. Isolated stump of a stunted Scots Pine Tree at base of 1.5m deep blanket peat.
 Image 2 ID 6802         Click image to enlarge
 Image 2 Description Detail of this pine stump showing possible axe cut facets. Photographed when first recognised in April 2002.
 Image 3 ID 6803         Click image to enlarge
 Image 3 Description This pine stump is located at the base of the peat within a Gutter or active erosion channel.
 Image 4 ID 6804         Click image to enlarge
 Image 4 Description This pine stump is located at the base of the peat within a Gutter or active erosion channel.
 Image 5 ID 6805         Click image to enlarge
 Image 5 Description A recent visit by SWWAG members to the Foxholes Scots Pine Tree stump.
 Image 6 ID 6806         Click image to enlarge
 Image 6 Description The direct GPS approach to the Foxholes Pine Tree from Birkdale Tarn directed by Mike Walton was the across these peat hags.
 Image 7 ID 6807         Click image to enlarge
 Image 7 Description Foxholes peat hags.
 Image 8 ID 6808         Click image to enlarge
 Image 8 Description Foxholes peat Hags.
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