Papers – Volume 6

Volume 6

Volume 6, edited by Martin Limbert. Published 2003. Pp.[i]-vi, 1–96; Colour ‘wraparound’ photographic cover (aerial view of Thorne Moor). Price £3 + p&p £1.75

Caught in Time: Thorne Moors in 1997 – Peter Roworth & Martin Limbert

An overview of peat milling on Thorne Moors

Honorary Members – Martin Limbert

In 1998 the Executive Committee of the Forum decided to honour the achievements of prominent workers in the Humberhead Levels , Dr G.D. Gaunt and Peter Skidmore, by making them Honorary Members of the Forum. This paper gives a brief biography of these two Honorary Members, focussing mainly on their work in the Humberhead Levels
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The Environmental History of the Bogs of the North-West Lowlands: Implications for Conservation Management – F.M. Chambers

Palaeoecological records from peats in the north-west of England give insights into past environmental conditions of mires, and show the diverse vegetational assemblages that have obtained in the Holocene. Selected aspects of the environmental history of some raised and basin mires are considered, including Bolton Fell Moss in Cumbria, Lindow Moss and White Moss in Cheshire, and the raised mire complex of Fenn’s and Whixall Mosses on the Shropshire-Clwyd border. Palaeoecological records of certain taxa, some of which are now regionally extinct, pose awkward questions for conservation management, particularly at sites where present vegetation is degraded and where management objectives are concerned with site rehabilitation. Some taxa, partuicularly trees, may have to be excluded, or (better) suppressed, in the initial stages of bog rehabilitation; whereas, certain other peat-forming and bog-pool plant taxa may need to be imported to provide an appropriate mix of species. Cultural practices, such as grazing and burning, may need to be incorporated in management plans for particular sites.

Equifinality, Conservation and the Origins of Lowland Raised Mires. The Case of Thorne and Hatfield Moors – P.C. Buckland and B.M. Smith

The origins and development of raised mires have been the subject of much discussion. The extensive suite of radiocarbon dates for Thorne and Hatfield Moors, lying either side of the old course of the River Don in South Yorkshire, allows several models to be tested. The oldest dates for towards the northern edge of what was once a complex of several mires, margined by lagg fens towards the bounding rivers, and origins can be seen in rising water tables ultimately controlled by sea-level and freshwater runoff as a result of forest clearance. The paleoecological record, both plant and animal, shows no evidence of estuarine influence or of any other open freshwater, and a polyfocal origin from wetland development around small pools, followed by coalescence of the incipiernt mires, is preferred.

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The Buried Forest of Thorne Moors – Gretel Boswijk

Tree-ring analysis of oak Quercus and Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris from Thorne Moors was undertaken to study the history of pre- and early mire development at the site. One oak and three Scots Pine chronologies were established and dendrochronologically dated to between 3777-1489 B.C.. The results indicate that as the mire developed, the oak woodland was succeeded by episodic periods of Scots Pine woodland, growing on the margins of the mesotropic mire. Changes in the location of the pine woodlands indicate that the spread and growth of the raised mire across the site took over 2000 years. A long lived, sandy-heath pine woodland was identified from Tyram Hall Quarry, on the western edge of Hatfield Moors.

Peatland Archaeology and Palaeoecology: An Archive Worth Rescuing? – Nicki J. Whitehouse

The pioneering palaeoecologist Sir Harry Godwin first popularised the concept of peat as an ‘archive’ of information about the past. Peatlands support distinctive animal and plant communities, and are the only terrestrial ecosystems that lay down a continuous three-dimensional record of their autochthonous history, as well as that of surrounding animal and plant communities (the allochthonous record). Detailed studies of these faunal and floral remains allow the study of the formation of peatlands, from inception to their present form. The archives also contain invaluable information about human impact on the environment, human activity in general, and record the effects of climate change. The palaeoecological archive thus has immense scientific value for a diverse range of subjects, and there are crucial links between peatland palaeoecology and the conservation of peatland ecosystems and their biota. However, despite the scientific value of these archives, there is little legislative recognition of their importance, or mechanisms that seek to protect them. In this paper, the value that palaeoecolgical studies can have to nature conservation are discussed. The present legislative protection towards this resource, and the opportunities offered by recent developments by Englaish Heritage, are outlined.

A Revised Checklist of the Fungi of Thorne Moors – Robert Taylor and Caroline Hobart

A checklist of Thorne Moors fungi is presented, updating an earlier list from 1987. The number of species recorded is 344, an increase of 61 over the previous inventory. Alongside each species is a record of the years in which it has been found on Thorne Moors. Also given are a chronology of recording, excluding only some casual records, and a summary of literature references to the fungi of the moorland.

Shorter Items

Additional records of Bryophytes from Thorne Moors – Colin Wall

A note on Gibbaranea gibbosa (Walck.)(Aranea: Araneidae) from Lindholme – Helen R. Kirk
Evarcha arcuata (Clerck) (Aranea: Salticidae) from Lindholme, a spider new to Yorkshire – Helen R. Kirk
Additional records of Orthoptera from Thorne Moors – Martin Limbert
Further records of newts Triturus from Thorne Moors – Martin Limbert and Bryan Wainwright
Breeding Common Stonechats Saxicola torquata on Thorne Moors in 2001 – Peter C. Roworth
A Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans michahellis on Thorne Moors – Martin Limbert and Bryan Wainwright

Literature Review

Peat Railways of Thorne and Hatfield Moors – A.J. Booth and Martin Limbert