Humberhead Levels

The Humberhead Levels is a national character area covering a large expanse of flat, low-lying land towards the western end of the Humber estuary in northern England. The levels occupy the former Glacial Lake Humber, an area bounded to the east by the Yorkshire Wolds and the northern Lincolnshire Edge, a limestone escarpment, and to the west by the southern part of the Yorkshire magnesian limestone ridge. In the north the levels merge into the slightly more undulating Vale of York close to the Escrick glacial moraine, and to the south merge into the Trent Vale. [1]

Footpath Through the Humberhead Peatlands - - 645204
A footpath through the Humberhead nature reserve

Glacial Lake Humber

During the last ice age, a glacier extended across this area almost to where Doncaster now is. The main glacial front was at Escrick where the Escrick moraine marks its furthest extension. This was the northern limit of an extensive lake which was impounded by the blocking of the Humber Gap by another ice front. The lake bottom gradually filled with clay sediments which are up to 20 metres thick. The clay sediments are locally overlain by peat deposits forming raised mires. At the base of the peat layers are the remains of a buried forest.[1][2]

Early settlement

The Humberhead Levels have been settled for several thousand years. The drier northern area was settled before the Roman era. The lighter soils there were easier to drain with hand tools, and the area was extensively cleared for small-scale pastoral farming.[2] The system of easily navigable rivers was used by invading late fifth- and sixth-century Angles and eighth- and ninth-century Vikings who were able to penetrate deep into the countryside.


  1. ^ a b Kent, Sir Peter; Gaunt, G D (1980). Eastern England from the Tees to the Wash. British Regional Geology (Second ed.). London: HMSO. Natural Environment Research Council. ISBN 0-11-884121-1.
  2. ^ a b "Humberhead Levels National Character Area". Natural England. Retrieved 6 June 2012.

External links

Coordinates: 53°39′50″N 0°55′30″W / 53.664°N 0.925°W


Campsall is a village in South Yorkshire, England. It lies 7 miles (11 km) to the north-west of Doncaster, at an elevation of around 50 feet above sea level. The village contains Campsall Country Park. The village falls within the Askern Spa ward of Doncaster MBC. The Parish is situated on the “Magnesian Limestone Belt”, a landscape feature formed by a narrow north-south trending escarpment. The Magnesian Limestone Belt is typified by well drained and fertile soils which were ideal for agriculture and the establishment of settlements like Campsall. Before the industrial revolution, the area to the east was occupied by the inaccessible and waterlogged marshes of the Humberhead Levels, whilst to the west was the Barnsdale Forest, an area associated with the legend of Robin Hood and various outlaws and bandits who preyed upon travellers on the Great North Road.

Geology of Yorkshire

The Geology of Yorkshire in northern England shows a very close relationship between the major topographical areas and the geological period in which their rocks were formed. The rocks of the Pennine chain of hills in the west are of Carboniferous origin whilst those of the central vale are Permo-Triassic. The North York Moors in the north-east of the county are Jurassic in age while the Yorkshire Wolds to the south east are Cretaceous chalk uplands. The plain of Holderness and the Humberhead levels both owe their present form to the Quaternary ice ages.

The strata become gradually younger from west to east.Much of Yorkshire presents heavily glaciated scenery as few places escaped the direct or indirect impact of the great ice sheets as they first advanced and then retreated during the last ice age.


Hemingbrough is a small village and civil parish in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, England that is located approximately 5 miles (8 km) from Selby and 4 miles (6.4 km) from Howden on the A63. The village has a 12th-century former collegiate church (Hemingbrough Minster), a Methodist chapel and shops. The village also has a primary school and nursery as well as a playing field for the local children. The surrounding area makes up part of the Humberhead Levels and is flat land mainly used for mixed agriculture. It is thought that from this village came Walter of Hemingbrough, one of Britain's early chroniclers. Writing in the 14th century, he gave us a history beginning with the Norman conquest, now in the British Museum.

Robert de Hemmingburgh, a royal clerk who became Master of the Rolls in Ireland, was born here in the late thirteenth century. Nicholas Bubbewyth, a chancery clerk who became successively, Master of the Rolls, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Lord High Treasurer of England, and Bishop of London, Bishop of Salisbury and Bishop of Bath and Wells, was born in Menthorpe.

In 1989 Caron Keating and Blue Peter visited the village to replace the cockerel on the top of the church spire which had been damaged for several years.

In February 2014, Hemingbrough Parish Council were awarded funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help raise awareness of the historical heritage within Hemingbrough Parish to benefit the local community.

History of the East Riding of Yorkshire

The East Riding of Yorkshire is a local government district with unitary authority status, and is a ceremonial county of England. It is named after the historic East Riding of Yorkshire which was one of three ridings alongside the North Riding and West Riding, which were constituent parts a Yorkshire ceremonial and administrative county until 1974. From 1974 to 1996 the area of the modern East Riding of Yorkshire constituted the northern part of Humberside.

Humber Gap

The Humber Gap is a term for the geographic gap between the roughly north-south running line of hills formed by the Yorkshire Wolds and the Lincolnshire Wolds, formed by the west-east running Humber Estuary.In the geological past the gap has formed part of an ice barrier due to glaciers during the ice age resulting in damming and formation of a 'Humber Lake', and also forms a geological division.In modern times the gap has formed a natural choice for transport routes, such as the railways. The Humber Bridge also crosses the Humber close to the gap.

Lincolnshire coast

The coast of Lincolnshire runs for more than 50 miles (80 km) down the North Sea coast of eastern England, from the estuary of the Humber (which divides it from East Yorkshire) to the marshlands of the Wash, where it meets Norfolk. This stretch of coastline has long been associated with tourism, fishing and trade.

List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in South Yorkshire

This is a list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom. As of 2009, There are 35 sites designated within this Area of Search, of which 18 have been designated due to their biological interest, 14 due to its geological interest, and 3 for both biological and geological interest. In England the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features. Natural England took over the role of designating and managing SSSIs from English Nature in October 2006 when it was formed from the amalgamation of English Nature, parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. Natural England, like its predecessor, uses the 1974–1996 county system and as such the same approach is followed here, rather than, for example, merging all Yorkshire sites into a single list. Natural England produces citation sheets for each SSSI and are the main source of information for this list.South Yorkshire's geography can be split into different types. The very west of South Yorkshire is part of Dark Peak which is part of the Peak District National Park and lies to the west of Sheffield. This extensive moorland is one of the largest semi-natural areas in England and has broad plateaus with rocky outcrops interspersed with valleys. Moving east the land elevation drops with a transition from the peak district to coal fields. Much of this area of transition has seen urban development with Sheffield being a good example.The central region, to the north of Sheffield is largely dependent on the presence of coal measures in the areas geology. This is reflected by ancient woodlands, valley wetlands and large arable fields where there is no urban development. To the east of the coal measures is a strip of Magnesian Limestone which runs north to south between Sheffield and Doncaster. This open landscape is characterised by ancient woodlands and limestone grasslands and often has historic limestone monuments. However the light and dry soils are ideal for cultivation which means little of the original habitat remains. In the very east of South Yorkshire the Humberhead Levels dominate, with the area being relatively flat and dominated by the areas river systems. The area is predominately covered with small fields or areas of peatland.


Moorends is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster (part of South Yorkshire, England), on the border with Lincolnshire. It is part of the civil parish of Thorne, which lies to the south.

Moorends is located at approximately 53°38′N 0°57′W, at an elevation of around 3 metres above sea level.

The legendary goalkeeper Ted Sagar was born in Moorends in 1910.

It is also home to two pubs, and it is referred to as the gateway to the moors, with Grange Road offering access to the Humberhead Levels National Nature Reserve (Thorne Moors)

National Character Area

A National Character Area (NCA) is a natural subdivision of England based on a combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity and economic activity. There are 159 National Character Areas and they follow natural, rather than administrative, boundaries. They are defined by Natural England, the UK government's advisors on the natural environment.

Natural areas of England

The Natural Areas of England are regions, officially designated by Natural England, each with a characteristic association of wildlife and natural features. More formally, they are defined as "biogeographic zones which reflect the geological foundation, the natural systems and processes and the wildlife in different parts of England...".There are 120 Natural Areas in England ranging from the North Pennines to the Dorset Heaths and from The Lizard to The Fens. They were first defined in 1996 by English Nature and the Countryside Commission, with help from English Heritage. They produced a map of England that depicts the natural and cultural dimensions of the landscape.Natural Areas are assessed by Natural England, the UK Government's advisor on the natural environment, to be "a sensible scale at which to view the wildlife resource, from both a national and local perspective". Natural Areas were also used by English Nature as an "ecologically coherent framework for setting objectives for nature conservation."Many Natural Areas coincide with a further natural division referred to as National Character Areas; however, in other cases a Natural Area may contain two or more National Character Areas.

Nature Improvement Area

Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) are an ongoing network of large scale initiatives in the landscape of England to improve ecological connectivity and improve biodiversity. At 2015 the NIAs cover 47,000 acres of England in total, achieved at a total cost of £7.5 million. At spring 2015 the NIAs have also added a further 13,500 acres beyond the initial 2012 areas, as well as a total of 335 miles of new footpaths for public access.


Nottinghamshire (pronounced ; abbreviated Notts.) is a county in the East Midlands region of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham, though the county council is based at County Hall in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.

The districts of Nottinghamshire are Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe. The City of Nottingham was administratively part of Nottinghamshire between 1974 and 1988, but is now a unitary authority, remaining part of Nottinghamshire for ceremonial purposes.

In 2017, the county was estimated to have a population of 785,800.

Over half of the population of the county live in the Greater Nottingham conurbation (which continues into Derbyshire). The conurbation has a population of about 650,000, though less than half live within the city boundaries.


Riccall is a village and civil parish situated in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, England, lying 3.5 miles (6 km) to the north of Selby and 9 miles (14 km) south of York. It is historically part of the East Riding of Yorkshire. According to the 2011 census the parish had a total population of 2,332.

River Foulness

The River Foulness is a river in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Its name is derived from Old English fūle[n] ēa, meaning “dirty water”. Maintenance responsibilities for the river transferred from the Environment Agency to the Market Weighton Drainage Board on 1 October 2011. Market Weighton Drainage Board subsequently amalgamated with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board on 1 April 2012 to create the Ouse and Humber Drainage Board. The river discharges into the Humber Estuary via Market Weighton Canal. Water levels within the river, its tributaries and the canal are managed and controlled by the Environment Agency. The river lies in an area known as the Humberhead Levels.

South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is the southernmost county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and had a population of 1.34 million in 2011. It has an area of 1,552 square kilometres (599 sq mi) and consists of four metropolitan boroughs, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. South Yorkshire was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972. Its largest settlement is Sheffield.

Lying on the east side of the Pennines, South Yorkshire is landlocked, and borders Derbyshire to the west and south-west, West Yorkshire to the north-west, North Yorkshire to the north, the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north-east, Lincolnshire to the east and Nottinghamshire to the south-east. The Sheffield Urban Area is the tenth most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom, and dominates the western half of South Yorkshire with over half of the county's population living within it. South Yorkshire lies within the Sheffield City Region with Barnsley also being within the Leeds City Region, reflecting its geographical position midway between Yorkshire's two largest cities.

South Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986 and its metropolitan boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities, although the metropolitan county continues to exist in law. As a ceremonial county, South Yorkshire has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff.

South Yorkshire was created from 32 local government districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire (the administrative county and four independent county boroughs), with small areas from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

In the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, South Yorkshire voted 62% leave and 38% remain, making it one of the most heavily Leave areas in the country.

Topographical areas of Yorkshire

In Yorkshire there is a very close relationship between the major topographical areas and the geological period in which they were formed. The Pennine chain of Hills in the west is of Carboniferous origin. The central vale is Permo-Triassic. The North York Moors in the north-east of the county are Jurassic in age while the Yorkshire Wolds to the south east are Cretaceous chalk uplands. The plain of Holderness and the Humberhead levels both owe their present form to the Quaternary ice ages.

Much of Yorkshire presents heavily glaciated scenery as few places escaped the great ice sheets as they advanced during the last ice age.

Vale of York

The Vale of York is an area of flat land in the northeast of England. The vale is a major agricultural area and serves as the main north-south transport corridor for Northern England.

The Vale of York is often supposed to stretch from the River Tees in the north to the Humber Estuary in the south. More properly it is just the central part of this area which is truly the Vale of York, with the Vale of Mowbray to its north and the Humberhead Levels to its south. It is bounded by the Howardian Hills and Yorkshire Wolds to the east and the Pennines to the west. The low-lying ridge of the Escrick moraine marks its southern boundary. York lies in the middle of the area.

Warping in agriculture

Warping, was the former practice of letting turbid river water flood onto agricultural land, so that its suspended sediment could form a layer, before letting the water drain away. In this way poor soils were covered with fertile fine silt (or warp), and their rentable value was increased.

Warping was costly as specially made sluice gates had to be built, and embankments with sloping sides had to be constructed around the fields in order to contain the water. Water was allowed into the embanked fields,

during the spring tides, through these gates, and when the tide was at its height, the gates were closed. As the tide ebbed, the water was allowed to escape slowly back into the river, having deposited most of its mud on the surface on the enclosure in which it had been penned. The result was a perfectly flat field, and if warping was carried out, during the several spring tides, for two or three years, a layer of fertile silt of perhaps a metre or more, would have been laid down. As the process was expensive it was generally the prerogative of wealthy landowners and could only practically be carried out where the land to be improved was in a few hands, and agreement could be reached to share the costs.

The first reliable report of warping seems to come in the 1730s from Rawcliffe, which is near the confluences of the Ouse with the Aire and the Don, where a small farmer called Barker used the technique. A few years later in 1743 Richard Jennings, from the neighbouring village of Airmyn, was warping on a greater scale.Warping was particularly suited to the Humberhead Levels, as the high tides of the rivers Trent and Ouse, when combined with the adjacent low land situation of the fields to be warped, made the practicalities of the process relatively simple. Warping was also carried out in the Somerset Levels from about 1780.In Lincolnshire, to the east of the river Trent, it may be that warping was last used on Brumby West Common near Scunthorpe in 1867. The technique was last employed to the west of the river at Medge Hall, Crowle just before the First World War.

William Bunting (eco-warrior)

William Bunting (1916–1995) was an amateur naturalist and eco-warrior who is credited with saving the wildlife habitat of Thorne Moors from the planned dumping of 32 million tons of fuel-ash, peat-cutting and drainage, and for campaigning for the reinstatement of public footpaths on maps of the same Moors.

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