Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Changing Landscape

Isn't it funny whe you refer to something as being "as old as the hills" and well - what if the hills aren't as old as they seem? The landscape around us is constantly changing, and not just with the spread of urban development.

Cow Green reservoir

I thought of today's post when I had a look through a 1966 booked by Alan P. Binns entitles "Walking The Pennine Way" that my dad kindly sent to me.

When I turned to the map showing the section from Langdon Beck to Dufton I wondered where on earth Cow Green reservoir had gone?!  Of course the reservoir was only created from 1967 to 1971 hence it not appearing on the map. Similarly the reservoirs around Baldersdale, much maligned by Alfred Wainwright on his Pennine journey were being created as the author here writes,

 "You may be confused here as a new reservoir has been made to the west of Birk Hat and is not shown on the seventh edition of the O.S. map." (referring to the 1 in. O.S. Sheet 84, Teesdale)

Pretty much all of my favourite walking places have been created as a result of man's intervention on the landscape. Roseberry Topping in the North York Moors owes its unique silhouette to a collapse of its summit in 1912. This has been partly attributed to ironstone and alum mining activity that was taking place at the time.

Roseberry Topping

The mining industry of time gone by has also had an incredible impact - Swaledale has been scarred by its leadmining past and coppermines have been bored through the fells of the Coniston range in Southern Lakeland like holes in a Swiss cheese.

old mine entrance on Coniston

I think that man will never truly conquer nature - when mankind moves along having exhausted the mines or found another project to work on - slowly the landscape is reclaimed by the flora and fauna. Even features which are plonked onto the landscape become an integral part of the countryside and even enhance the experience - such as when the breathtaking Ribblehead viaduct comes into sight when walking in the Limestone Country in the Dales

Ribblehead Viaduct

I suppose man's impact on the landscape is always going to be a hotly debated issue, such as the arguments raging up and down the country concerning the impact wind farms have on the countryside. But it is interested to see how the industrial marks of one era become the listed buildings and sites of historic interest for the next.

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