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Title: An assessment of woodland history and archaeology : a case study approach
Author: Smith, Paul E.
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2010
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Woodland history in Derbyshire has not been extensively researched. Indeed the area between the rivers Derwent and Rother is archaeologically underrecorded in the Historic Environment Record. Woodland research elsewhere has revealed significant archaeological remains. There is scope to increase the understanding of Derbyshire's ancient woodland heritage. Case study woods on two geological zones were selected for intensive study and several other woods less intensively. Archaeological, ecological and historical surveys were made of the woods. Features were recorded, located using GPS, mapped and presented in a Gazetteer. Possible evidence of former land use was revealed. Early exploitation of mineral resources was found, including possible Romano-British and late medieval quern stones. On the Coal Measures medieval iron working slags were found associated with charcoal platforms and Q-pits, possibly whitecoal production sites for lead smelting fuel. In woods located on the Millstone Grit remains of kilns and charcoal platforms were found, these are also thought to have produced whitecoal. These remains and contemporary documents illustrate the demand for fuel as industrialisation increased in the sixteenth century. Further evidence in the form of woodland boundaries, track ways and ecological change suggest increased exploitation using coppice with standards. There is evidence of different responses to woodland use between woods on the Coal Measures and those located on the Millstone Grits. The dominance of oak and the demise of other species is noted, documents record the importance of oak tan-bark and also the commercial use of many more species than can beseen today. Episodes of felling and re-planting have created woods very different in character to those of the seventeenth century; woodland flora is confined mainly to the margins. The findings demonstrate the importance of the woods to the local communities and industry as fuel and raw materials. Composite time-lines were produced combining the strands of research showing graphically the changes in woodland usage to the present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available