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Excursion Guide to the Geomorphology of the Howgill Fells

Adrian Harvey

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Product Details
Paperback (BC)
22 Jun 2017
Dunedin Academic Press
128 pages - 230x133mm
The Howgill Fells in Cumbria, represent one of the most erosionally active landscapes in Britain. The bedrock geology, folded Silurian mudstones, is not especially well seen. The direct effects of Pleistocene glaciation are limited and not as well developed as in the neighbouring Lake District, although glacial meltwaters did have an important impact. However, it is in its post-glacial landscape that the Howgills are exceptional. The steep hillslopes of the headwater valleys are riddled by networks of erosional gullies, many active during the last few thousand years but now stabilised, others actively erosional now. The gully systems feed sediment downslope, locally forming large tributary-junction alluvial fans, elsewhere creating braided reaches within the stream channels. The Holocene sequence of hillslope gully erosion, alluvial fan deposition, and stream terrace aggradation and dissection is exceptionally well exhibited by numerous exposed sections through the sedimentary sequences. The modern active gully systems have been monitored for more than thirty years. The results of this long-term study illustrate two fundamental aspects of process geomorphology: first, the importance of coupling, i.e. linkages, within the geomorphic system, and secondly, the significance of magnitude/frequency relationships. Essentially, the Howgills form an excellent field laboratory for the study of modern processes and landforms as well as retaining the evidence for reconstructing the erosion/deposition sequence of the last few thousand years. The book is organised in two sections. A series of thematic chapters is followed by chapters dealing with details of recommended field excursions. The first excursion is a car-based excursion around the margins of the Howgills but the other excursions are all hiking excursions into the interior of the Howgills. One of the joys of the interior of the Howgills is that they form an upland block, within which there is no settlement, there are no roads and virtually no walls. You have to hike in to see, study and learn! The book is copiously illustrated by maps, diagrams and colour photographs.
Acknowledgements. First Part – The Geomorphology of the Howgill Fells: 1: Introduction Regional overview; 2: Holocene Landform evolution; 3: The modern geomorphic system. Second Part – The field sites: Chapter 5: A Reconnaissance road trip around the Howgill Fells; 6: The Western Howgills. 7: The Northern Howgills. 8: The Southern Howgills. 8: Final Reflections. References. Appendices
Adrian Harvey is a retired Professor of Geomorphology from the University of Liverpool. He has published many research papers on Howgill geomorphic processes, and, often with colleagues, on the Holocene landform sequence. He has led field trips to the area for more than forty years.

'if you want to understand the Howgills landscape, this is an excellent guide to help your appreciation.'
Edinburgh Geologist

'Because of their proximity to the larger expanse of the Lake District fells, the Howgill Fells are often overlooked by hill walkers and geomorphologists alike but they contain a wealth of detail on recent landscape change that all who are interested in upland terrain should not underestimate. Thankfully, Adrian Harvey is well aware of this detail and has been researching the geomorphology of the area for more than 30 years, delivering along with his colleagues and research students a large number of publications on the nature and chronology of processes and landform change. This guide is an overview of that significant contribution and provides access to the academic details as well as the ground evidence for those who want to put the beautiful views into their scientific context, as I do myself whenever I venture into my surrounding hills for some exercise. Obviously, such guides are targeted not just at individuals like me, but more at groups and leaders of groups, such as those in schools and universities, as well as professional research organizations. For all who are likely to be interested, this is a well-organized, succinctly and professionally written and beautifully presented guide, reproduced at a convenient size for that pocket inside your waterproof jacket especially designed for the folded map.' The Holocene

‘The Howgill Fells represent one of the most erosionally active landscapes of Britain. Whilst the area has been heavily glaciated, it is its post-glacial terrain that is exceptional. The soft rocks have been eroded by meltwaters into a network of deep erosional gullies. All formed in the last few thousand years, some have now stabilised whilst others are still very active. The active gullies carry large amounts of sediment that collect to form alluvial fans along with braided streams within complex channels. These gullies are contrasted with those that are inactive and stable. The book is arranged in two parts. The first part comprises thematic chapters that cover topics such as the solid geology, glaciation. drainage evolution, the Holocene landforms and the modem geomorphic system. All the chapters are well illustrated with maps, diagrams and excellent photographs.
The second part comprises a series of excursions that cover the periphery and also the interior of the Howgill Fells. By their very nature, The Howgill Fells comprise rough walking country and so the walks have been carefully chosen with safety in mind. The first itinerary can be undertaken by car with a series of short walks. The other itineraries can be undertaken from convenient parking places. A great addition to your bookshelf!’ Down to Earth

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