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Durham e-Theses
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Problems in the management for recreation of Waldridge Fell, an area of lowland heath: an ecological study.

Ellison, Leslie (1978) Problems in the management for recreation of Waldridge Fell, an area of lowland heath: an ecological study. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Waldridge Fell is one of the last vestiges of lowland heath in central County Durham and it is of particular scientific interest because of its wide variety of acidophilous heath communities. Some 2000 years of extensive human pressure had created an open heath landscape from former forested lowlands but changes in farming practice made severe inroads into the heath in the nineteenth century. The greatest threat to the vegetation of Waldridge Fell, however, came, with the demands of car-borne recreationists for informal leisure space in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1975 the County Council began a positive management programme. This thesis records the results of monitoring the first two years of this programme. Exclusion of the motor vehicle has led to revegetation of most of the heavily damaged track surfaces by species adapted to a moderately heavy intensity of pedestrian wear. Limitation of access to the Fell, however, has certain inherent dangers. Evaluation of the landscape of the Fell has identified four zones which visitors may seek out as future ‘leisure goals'. The purposeful nature of the existing paths in giving access to these goals may 'freeze’ the use of the Fell within the narrow confines of the present track system. Energy expenditure tests confirm that much of the remaining heath is inpenetrable by normal recreationists. The removal of beneficial trampling could lead to a closure of the heath landscape unless a new policy of management is instituted.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Nov 2013 16:10

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