Upper Derwent Valley is an open book for time-travellers

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 7 September 2004

7 September 2004

Upper Derwent Valley is an open book for time-travellers

A chance to re-live Roman times or delve into the Ice Age is offered in a new book charting the history of one of the Peak District National Park's most picturesque valleys.

"The Upper Derwent - 10,000 years in a Peak District Valley" is the fruit of 10 years research by National Park archaeologist Dr Bill Bevan, who traced previously undiscovered evidence of Bronze Age burial mounds, Roman settlements and 17th-18th century charcoal burning for the early Sheffield iron industry.

The Upper Derwent, which includes the famous Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoirs, is a glorious area of forest, heath, rivers, farmland and tors, which has been the scene of human activity since pre-history.

Dr Bevan reveals traces of hunter-gatherer camps, Neolithic settlements, burial mounds which can be seen on the edges of the reservoir during droughts, Roman roads and forges, medieval forests and monastic estates, farms and early industrial sites.

It also covers more modern developments - the building of the dams with their 'Tin Town' corrugated iron settlements for the navvies - and land improvements and conservation.

Dr Bevan said: "I must have walked over nearly every inch of ground in the area to catalogue archaeological features - but it's been well worth it to build up a picture of the whole of the historic landscape. It shows that the countryside we see today is the product of a very long history."

The £95,000 Upper Derwent Archaeological Survey was funded not only by the National Park Authority but the Forestry Commission, National Trust and Severn Trent Water.

Ken Smith, cultural heritage manager for the National Park Authority, said: "This is the first comprehensive survey of this area, and the first publication that informs both academic researchers and members of the public about how people have used the Upper Derwent over the past 10,000 years."

Written in an easily accessible style and superbly illustrated with photos and artworks, the book will not only be a useful resource for researchers, teachers and students but for residents and visitors with an interest in local history.

The book, priced £17.99, is available from bookshops, published by Tempus Publishing, ISBN
0-7524-2903-5, or from the Upper Derwent Tourist Information Centre. Proceeds from sales will go towards conserving the Upper Derwent's heritage.

This is an archived press release

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