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Tyne and Wear HER(11215): Walbottle Dene - Details

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Walbottle Dene



Agriculture and Subsistence

Managed Woodland


Post Medieval

Natural Feature

In the medieval period southern Northumberland was extensively wooded. Even by 1620, plans show woods at Throckley and Newburn. In 1797 in the first draft report for the Board of Agriculture, John Bailey and George Culley said woodland is restricted to the banks of rivers. Indeed, by Fryer's map of 1820 deforestation had resulted in only a comparatively narrow sinuous strip of woodland along Walbottle and Throckley Dene surviving. By 1847 the township of Throckley had 35 acres of woodland, presumably restricted to the Dene and to new plantations. The Dene is still heavily wooded and today remains the only area of natural woodland in Walbottle and Throckley. Native trees include ash, maple, hazel, lime, elm, birch, alder, sallow, oak and hawthorn. The Duke of Northumberland carried out a programme of tree planting in 1766 in Walbottle Dene. Landowners were encouraged to plant trees in the post medieval period. Williamson and Bellamy call this the 'great replanting' when millions of trees were planted as a patriotic duty. In the 19th century fashionable trees like sycamore, beech, larch, rhododendron and horse-chestnut were planted. The influence of the Duke's artificial planting is evident in the form of rhododendrons and bluebells amongst the natural woodland. The Dene was presented to Newburn Urban District Council in 1932. Only 1.2% of Great Britain is ancient semi-natural broadleaved woodland. An Inventory of Ancient Woodland (sites over 2 hectares in size which have been in existence and have had a continuous history of tree cover since at least 1600 AD) was begun in 1981, compiled by English Nature. The aim is to ensure the continuance of the woods, the preservation of their wildlife and landscape value and appropriate management. Ancient woods are a living record of the biological effects of practices such as coppicing and wood pasture management. The natural vegetation of ancient woods, the undisturbed soil and drainage patterns and their contribution to the landscape comprise an irreplaceable conservation asset which once destroyed can never be recreated {Cooke and The Nature Conservancy Council, 1987}. Separates Walbottle from Throckley. Gifted to Newburn Urban District Council by the 9th Duke of Northumberland in 1932. Designated as a local nature reserve and a site of importance for nature conservation.




Robert Cooke, 1987, Tyne and Wear Inventory of Ancient Woodland (Provisional), The Nature Conservancy Council; Kirby, K.J. et al, (1984), Inventories of ancient semi-natural woodland,; Newcastle City Council, 2009, Walbottle Village Conservation Area Character Statement & Management Plan, page 9; O. Rackham, 1986, The history of the countryside - the classic history of Britain's landscape, flora and fauna, p 64; A Plan of the manor of Newburn, 1620, Alnwick Castle Archives, Class O, div. xvii, No. 1; J Bailey and B Culley, 1797, General view of the agriculture of the county of Northumberland; Throckley Tithe Map, 1847, DT 448 M (Woodhorn); T Williamson and L Bellamy, 1987, Property and landscape - a social history of land ownership and the English countryside, p 192; TEC Walker and S Warner, 1953, The King's England: Northumberland, England's farthest north, p 273; NG Rippeth, 1993, Newburn in old picture postcards, p 57

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