A shot from a great Dales day out.
From Buckden Rake. The crumbling wall here indicates an ancient settlement, possibly around 2000 yrs old. The natural stones were used to create these strongholds above the valley floor. The tiny village of Hubberholme is in the valley.
The hills were glaciated in the last ice age, about 17000 years ago. Since the ice retreated, the hills were covered in birch and later oak, but humans cleared the trees for fuel and pasture over thousands of years. Grass and moss replaced the trees, and the climate, which is almost arctic/alpine, ensured that trees found it difficult to grow in the now acid soils. Since then humans have grazed sheep on the hills (fells) which chew any saplings which may germinate. There are moves to reforest some areas, but the weather is harsh and the soil is poor, so the hills will remain open and wild. Most people like it this way...the open hills have long been a source of recreation and inspiration for all who visit. Many people outside the North of England don't realise that there is a vast wilderness in this part of the world and that much of northern England is indeed wild and unspoilt.