Studies in the Holocene vegetation history of Wensleydale
Total and arboreal pollen diagrams have been prepared for three blanket bog sites and one valley bog in the Wensleydale area of the Yorkshire Dales. Local pollen assemblage zones have been defined for each site using numerical methods, and these have been correlated to give regional pollen assemblage zones. A computer program has been developed to calculate and plot the palynological data, and an absolute chronology has been established for the pollen diagrams from a series of twenty radiocarbon dates. Detailed humification profiles have been produced for each site to assist in the interpretation of the pollen records, and chemical analyses have also been carried out for the valley bog site. The regional zones have been used as the basis for a discussion of the Holocene vegetation history of Wensleydale. The palynological, radiocarbon, humification, chemical and archaeological/historical evidence is drawn together to provide a comprehensive study of the vegetation changes which have occurred over the approximately 9,000 years covered by the pollen records. By adopting a holistic approach to interpretation, it has been shown that man has been an important influence on the landscape of Wensleydale throughout this entire period. Possible anthropogenic causes are put forward for a number of vegetation changes previously assumed to be of climatic origin.