Threshfield Environs Project
Early Days for UWHG Members
In the winter of 2005/2006 the founder members of UWHG agreed to donate a set number of hours of work to the Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust in order to match funding from the Aggregate Levy. This enabled the YDLRT to start work on their Threshfield Environs Project. This ongoing project is compiling a detailed record, including surveys of the landscape surrounding Threshfield Quarry.
The first work sessions involved a topographical survey of an area of enclosures, tumbled structures, walls and an adjacent ditch all within the boundaries of Long Ashes Park. Using the corner of one of the lodges as a fixed reference, control points outside the wooded area were established using a total station and secondary markers were positioned within the coppiced area using tapes. From these locations baselines, were put in and features plotted by both offset and triangulation.
This might sound to be straight forward but given the conditions the actual application turned out to be a mammoth feat of endurance and patience. Through out most of the survey the temperature was well below freezing point. The majority of the area under study lay within a long disused and therefore extremely dense and tangled hazel coppice. Within this the limestone pavement and stone walls were covered in moss which made them slippery at the best of times but lethal when icy. Cold fingers playing knit one purl one with the tapes through the multiple growth from every tree stump, whilst trying to stand on a skating rink, bundled in so many clothes that movement was restricted, certainly tested us to the limit.
Our rewards came not only from the finished survey but also through keen interest shown by many of the residents and our ability to retreat from time to time to the warmth and comfort of the Leisure Centre, to thaw out over a mug of hot chocolate!
Ancient Hazel Coppice with underlying features © R. D. Martlew
Tyne Beck Wood
This was the second of our initial projects and involved a thorough walkover survey, studying the landscape and comparing it with earlier archaeological records compiled in the sixties by Dr Arthur Raistrick and later material produced by the Royal Commission for Historic Monuments, as part of their Yorkshire Dales Mapping Project in the 1990’s.
Some areas were selected for more detailed study and topographical surveys were produced using tapes to triangulate from fixed baselines. These features included ancient walls, some enclosures and a kiln.
The Tyne Beck Wood work followed on from the stint at Long Ashes as, although now separated by the quarry, these two areas were once part of the same hillside to the north of Skirethorns.
The wood now consists of a sparse cover of hawthorn, which made working conditions much easier, as did the weather which although still cold was bright and sunny for most of the time. The only problem we encountered was when some unknown person removed our marker pegs which resulted in considerable time being wasted by having to re–establish them.
Preparing to draw a vertical section across the kiln © P.J. Carroll
Patricia J Carroll