Dalehead

I’ve been home now for seven days and up until this morning it has rained every day. So with a favourable forecast I decided the head out onto the moors and follow the ridge that separates Westerdale from Farndale. At Rosedale Head I cut out onto the moor along the keeper’s track that runs beside the beautiful prehistoric standing stone, Margery Bradley. M Bradley s No one really knows the origin of the name but in the early perambulations of the Feversham Estate the stone is referred to as  “Breadless” and was supposedly a place where beggars would gather in search of alms although given the location of the stone, this explanation would seem rather unlikely.  The stone was used as a boundary marker for the Feversham Estate an is marked with the letters TD for Thomas Duncombe, Duncombe being the family name of the Feversham family. The stone is also marked with an Ordnance Survey bench mark. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There is lots of evidence of man’s prehistoric activities on the moors, burial mounds, locally known as howes dot the moor tops, standing stones and prehistoric rock carvings can also be found are at a number of locations across the moors. This particular area on the high moor above Westerdale is known amongst archaeologists for providing evidence, in the form of flint scatters, of the earliest occupants of the moors. During the Mesolithic period (8500 -3800 BC) small groups of highly mobile hunter-gatherers made seasonal camps at the heads of the dales. Whilst they camped they made tools using flint that they had brought with them. Hundreds of flints have been found at various sites across the watershed, the two most prolific sites in this area are White Gill and Eskletts. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The recent rains have saturated the moors and following a long dry summer when there were lots of people out on the moors, the tracks are well worn and full of water. The erosion caused by many feet and heavy rainfall has washed away the peat in a number of locations which are littered with fragments of birch bark and in a few places the remains of tree trunks poke out through the thin layers of peat. Many of these ancient tree fragments pre-date the peat formations and therefore may be thousands of years old. Farndale Railway s The path eventually leads down to the track bed of the Rosedale branch railway. The railway was constructed to carry ironstone from the mines in Rosedale to the blast furnaces along the Tees. The line was  opened on the 14th of March 1861.Farndale Railway x s OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Todays finds. A piece of grey flint and a piece of chert, both non-native to the moors and used for prehistoric tool making. A Royal Mail badge.

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