Quaternary of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire

Bethan Davies, Lynda Yorke, David Bridgland, David Roberts

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The north of England encompasses vast swathes of the British countryside, comprising a diverse range of uplands, moorlands and coastal environs, glacigenic landforms, major incised river systems, and displaying its share of human-environment interactions. However, it is surprising that until recently the region’s glacial history and stratigraphy was developed more than 100 years ago, with Holocene fluvial developments and landscape histories being the only focus of research during the last 20 or so years. Nevertheless, in the last 10 years there has been a resurgence of interest in the glacial and fluvial landscapes of the area, and a significant volume of research has been undertaken.

The Quaternary Research Association (QRA) has visited the area twice in the last 30 years. Back in 1986, a joint field meeting with the then British Geomorphological Research Group (BGRG) (now British Society for Geomorphology [BSG]) was held in the North Pennines, and 14 years ago the QRA visited the region again, led by researchers at Durham University. The first visit was focused upon the upper headwaters of the River Tyne and its tributaries, looking at glacigenic sediments and historic (last 300 years) fluvial development. Whilst the second visit saw the focus more firmly placed on glacial development around County Durham, and Holocene landscape evolution in North and East Yorkshire. Since 2004, there have been a number of doctoral projects (Yorke; Davies; Livingstone) centred on the region’s Quaternary history, as well as numerous research projects (ALSF) undertaken, therefore, we feel it is timely to revisit the region and profile this new research. The main driver for all this research was to gain a better understanding of the development and evolution of the Pleistocene glacial sequence, and to evaluate the Late Glacial fluvial response to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). With these new investigations, techniques, data, and advances in dating methods, there has been an advance in our understanding of the regional Quaternary history. The broad themes we will cover during this field excursion (and in this guidebook) are: Middle Pleistocene and Devensian glaciation; Late Glacial and early Holocene fluvial development; Holocene environmental change; archaeological evidence of human-environment interaction; and, geoconservation of Quaternary resources.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherQuaternary Research Association, London
Number of pages208
ISBN (Electronic)9780907780861
ISBN (Print)0 907780 86 5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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