Upper Raisdale

Or is it? There is no doubt that Raisdale is the name of the valley extending north west from Chop Gate in Bilsdale. The Ordnance Survey map names it as such. But when the valley splits at Raisdale Mill it becomes more equivocal. The map shows the name Raisdale as extending up this short right hand fork to a remote farm called Beak Hills otherwise the beck along its bottom is unnamed. Raisdale Beck though is shown as flowing down from the left hand valley. Between the two forks rises the bulky Cringle Moor to 432m above sea level.

Today the gulley leading down to the farm from the ridge of Cold Moor has the legal status of a Public Bridleway but is evidence of an old track of extensive usage. I don’t suppose it is correct to call it a holloway, from the Anglo-Saxon “hola weg” meaning a sunken road. In Danelaw it would no doubt have had a Norse name. The gulley is fairly typical of tracks leading off the high moors, a diagonal descent easing the gradient.  Sometimes there are several gullies in parallel. Even into the 20th century the practice was to use sleds to transport bales of heather and peat blocks down off the moors. Heather or ling was used for thatching and bedding and peat was a valuable fuel. Sleds would also have been the method of transporting the sandstone from the outcrops for building the farms, barns and walls. Years of such sledding would have created the gullies. I imagine once a gulley became too eroded, control of a heavily loaded sled would of become very difficult even dangerous and so a new route off to one side would be sought.

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