Cheviot Area : Introduction To The Study Area
The geology is composed of a suite of igneous rocks of Devonian (Old Red Sandstone) age and the landscape is characterised by smooth rolling hills and extensive plateaux of semi-natural acidic grass moor, known locally as 'white' grass.
There are also areas of heather moorland and, in wetter parts, blanket bog dominated by dwarf shrubs, sedges, sphagnum moss and cotton grass. Coniferous woodland plantations are common on the upper valley slopes, with relict semi-natural broadleaved woodland, gorse scrub and meadow grassland within the steep sided valleys. The area reaches a maximum altitude of 414m O.D on the summit of Coldsmouth Hill.
Settlement is limited to dispersed farmsteads and small hamlets, Kilham being the largest of these. The buildings are generally constructed of the locally quarried dark igneous andesite and granite although sandstone was brought in from the east for higher status buildings.
The survey area is constructed of three contiguous holdings: Kilham Longknowe, Shotton and Thompson's Walls. Kilham Longknowe lies at the northern extent of the area bordering the Bowmont Water with Shotton bordering the river to the west. The central area is that of Thompson's Walls, rising to the heights of Coldsmouth Hill to the south.