Scenery of Huddersfield and its Significance (1925) by T. W. Woodhead

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Scenery of Huddersfield

and its significance.

By T. W. Woodhead, Ph.D., M.Sc.,

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Over in succession, until on the summit, the higher points are capped with Rough Rock, the highest bed in the Millstone Grit series. The grits on the neighbouring hills are often weathered into fantastic shapes and have received such fanciful names as Raven Stones, Wolf Stones, Buck Stones, Cat Stones, Joiner Stones. and Pots Pans. : Rocking Stones, were artd -are frequent, and several have been described, on very unsatisfactory evidence, as Druids Altars, Sun Temples and the like.

On the eastern side, the Rough Rock follows the gentle slope of the range, forming very characteristic rock terraces, whose uniform surfaces are emphasised by the rectangular stone walls which form the field fences of the reclaimed area (fig. 2). This feature is not only.a reflex of local geology but also of native tidiness and thrift. The Millstone Grits dip gently to the east and disappear under the Lower Coal Measures which form an escarpment along which runs the railway from Penistone to Huddersfield, Though, like the grits, they are composed of siliceous beds of sandstones and shales they forma scenic feature which is in marked contrast to that of the Rough Rock.

Throughout the Millstone Grit area, the sandstones, cut through by innumerable streams, form rugged edges, and the steep slopes, which are strewn with great blocks of grit, are overgrown with heath plants and bracken. ‘The sandstones are extensively quarried e.g. at Crosland Moor, and provide Hudders- field with much excellent building stone, while borings in these

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The numerous tributaries of the Colne and Holme form an extensive series of fans, ranging from Buckstones in the north to Holme Mess in the south-east. On the precipitous slopes are exposed excellent sections of the beds of the Millstone Grit series, the marine bands of which, crowded with goniatites, have recently yielded results of considerable scientific interest. These streams give rise to the chief scenic features of the district and are separ- ated by bold spurs, which in the western Millstone Grit area have gently sloping, plateau-like summits, due the uniform

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The plant associations of the Southern Pennines, have been studied by numerous ecologists and Bartholomew’s have issued a vegetation map of the district

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felled, the above species were planted in its stead. Generally, woodland is degenerating and much has dissappeared during the last century. It persists mainly on the steep rocky escarpments fringing the valleys, where the land is unsuitable for farming or industrial purposes. The more extensive woodlands are on the Coal Measures and are chiefly maintained as game preserves, usually in the vicinity of the larger parklands. Birch, though still common, was formerly more abundant in the uplands, but has been depleted to provide material for the clog soles of former generations of textile workers.

In the district three types of oak-wood may be

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and they extend up the narrow moorland cloughs, disappearing at the higher levels, the last relics being odd trees of hawthorn, birch and mountain ash. Many of these woods are relics of the

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noteworthy feature of these mosses. True heath plants are quite inconspicious in the vegetation. Cotton grasses are of little value either for grazing or game and drainage is often resorted to, with the result that they tend to be replaced by ling, bilberry and moorland grasses. ‘lhe peat varies from a few feet to twenty feet or more and over a great part of the area it is rapidly break- ing up. Innumerable streams have cut through the peat to its base and the bared banks readily disintegrate, the peat being

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This is a striking illustration of the effect of topography on place names, but this influence is seen in the district as a whole. Over the Millstone Grit area, the names are derived chiefly from topographical features, but in the Coal Measure area, where seology, topography and climate are more favourable to the needs of man, the names are largely indicative of occupation, cultivation and exploitation.

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The destruction of the Pennine forest has been attributed to the Romans and certainly they crossed the ridge in this district at three points on their way between and York. One of these was probably little more than a trackway, the two others from Castleshaw to Slack, and the one crossing Blackstone Edge, were well constructed roads. This district, however, was a populous Brigantian centre, and the Camp at Castle Hill, Almondbury, with its finely preserved earthworks, was doubtless their great stronghold. That they cultivated the land on these hillsides is suggested by querns of this period which have been found, and quite recently a broken quern was discovered at the bottom of the rampart of the Roman Camp at Meltham.

the ancient camps in the neighbourhood mention may be made of Castle Hill Almondbury, Meg Dike, Lee Hill Outlane, Butternab (almost obliterated), Denby and Langsett, none of these have been excavated and ‘the age of some is uncertain. The Roman Camps are: Castleshaw, Slack Outlane, Greetland, Meltham and Objects of these periods also plans and photographs of the Camps will be found in Room 9 of the Museum, and in the adjoining room (10) may be seen a unique collection of casts and restorations of local Anglo-Danish sculp- tured stones.

Early man, as we have seen above, occupied the summit plateau, but when the Angles, Danes and Norse settled in the dis- trict, they occupied the lower rock terraces, well out of the flood andswamp. The Domesday Survey gives striking evidence of this, also of the great extent of woodland existing, at least below 1,200 feet, in the neighbourhood. It was not until recent times when man had gained control over the rivers, and learnt to curb the force of the water and exploit its power, that he moved still lower to the river banks which he occupies to-day, filling the bottoms of these narrow valleys with great factories, and crowd- ing the hillsides with an ever increasing number of stone built cottages.

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