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The upper and middle Eden Valley

Howe, J. (1965) The upper and middle Eden Valley. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The upper and middle Eden valley is an example of a region in which agriculture is the major economic activity. Although sparsely populated, regions such as this are of fundamental importance in the economy of the country as a whole. This study was undertaken in order to assess the importance of geographical factors in the evolution and present characteristics of the economy and pattern of settlement. In part I and examination is made of the relief and drainage, climate and soils. The region is a distinctive physical region, having clearly defined upland areas as its boundaries. Following the discussion of the relief and drainage in the region as a whole, a more detailed study is made of the four physical regions. Because the region is a lowland flanked by uplands, there are differences in climatic conditions. Temperatures are most extreme in the lowlands. The incidence and duration of rainfall and snowfall increase rapidly with altitude. In addition, the higher areas suffer from exposure to the wind and look of sunshine. Although a comprehensive survey of soils, based on a study of soil profiles, has not been carried out in the area, information is available on soil texture and this is discussed in Chapter 3. In part II an assessment is made of the influence of these physical factors on the economy and pattern of settlement. The natural resources of the region are limited and farming has always been the major activity. In accordance with the contrasts in the physical environment, farming varies considerably within the region. After discussing the general characteristics of farming, the region is divided into three agricultural regions and to illustrate these, eight specimen farms are analysed in detail. Mining quarrying are of some importance in the region and the economy is further diversified by the processing of the raw materials. The pattern of settlement has evolved to serve the needs of this predominantly agricultural area. Detailed fieldwork was carried out in order to asses the functions of the elements in the modern pattern. Because so much of the area is above 750 feet and because the region is bounded by uplands, communications within, and into other regions, are limited. At the present time road transport plays a much more significant role in the economy than railways. The planned extension to the M6 passes through the western part of the area. In Chapter 6 the population trends since 1851 are first discussed. The most significant point to emerge is that there has been overall decline in population of 20%. Following the analysis of the distribution of population, is a study of population structure. This latter study reveals that most of the people leaving the area are in the vital age groups of 15 - 39.The greatest problem in the upper and middle 2den valley is depopulation. In order to alleviate this, the area's first need is more processing industries. One asset the area possesses is that the cost of building land is lower than in many areas of the country. Secondly, the planned extension to the N6 will give the region more efficient links with the rest of the country. The Motorway could help the upper and middle Eden valley to achieve a more balanced economy and thus, a more stable population.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1965
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:51

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