Most industrial treescapes and other wooded landscapes will have some form of documented history (see section ‘documentary sources’). Such sites were of economic importance to their owners over long periods of time. In many cases their management histories have survived in great detail which will allow you to build up a detailed picture for your particular site.
The ‘woodland history’ section gives background information on how industrial treescapes have developed in the East Peak area. It charts the transition from common to coppice-with-standards to high forest, abandonment to amenity use today.
Having an understanding of the history of an industrial treescape allows you to interpret the evidence on the ground. Using ecological and archaeological evidence alone can make it much harder to be sure of past conditions, events and the management practices which were carried out, exactly when and for how long.
Archaeological features can be divided into those which are
- OF the woodland: directly associated with woodland management and industrial activities e.g. charcoal making
- IN the woodland: not associated with woodland management or activities eg. coal mining, stone quarrying, field systems.
It isn’t usually possible to identify which pits, platforms, boundaries, trackways and ditches are OF and which are IN at first glance. This is where detailed recording and background historical work is essential. Some of the most common features you may find are shown in the ‘hearths, pits & platforms’ and ‘banks, ditches and routeways’ sections. Help to get you started in carrying out a survey is in the ‘Recording features’ section with more detailed information in the survey guide.