The Lower Wharfedale National Mapping Programme (NMP) project was carried out in partnership with West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (WYAS). It covered an area of 1100km2, mostly lying within West Yorkshire but also covering small parts of North and South Yorkshire. The mapping linked the Yorkshire Dales NMP and Vale of York NMP projects thereby completing the NMP mapping of the whole of a major river valley from source to sea.
A broad range of geographical regions was covered by the project. Each of these has shaped past settlement of the landscape and today influences the survival of archaeological features.
In the west lie the Millstone Grit uplands and moors. Here numerous monuments dating from the Bronze and Iron Ages survive as earthworks. These include cairns, two embanked stone circles and the impressive enclosures of Woofa Bank and Round Dikes.
As The River Wharfe flows eastwards from its source in the Yorkshire Dales, its valley gradually shallows and includes designed landscapes such as that surrounding Harewood House. Further south and east the pasture fields give way to arable and the extensive open cast mines and spoil heaps of the Westphalian coal measures.
The Magnesian Limestone belt
The eastern extent of the project area is defined by a section of the Magnesian Limestone belt that runs up much of the eastern half of England. This region is characterised by gently rolling terrain and well drained soils that are conducive to the formation of cropmarks. For this reason the area has been a focus for aerial archaeologists for over three decades.
The project mapped extensive coaxial field systems with associated enclosures and trackways of probable Iron Age/Roman date. Other sites mapped on the limestone include the Roman villa site of Dalton Parlours and the ritual multi-phase landscape of Ferrybridge Henge.
This mapping, along with that carried out by the Magnesian Limestone NMP project, forms part of the air photograph mapping element of the Magnesian Limestone in South and West Yorkshire Archaeological Mapping and Assessment Project.
The images used on this page are copyright English Heritage unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project please contact the English Heritage Archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us via email using the link above.