Author Topic: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough  (Read 2240 times)

Offline Pitlamp

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A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« on: April 13, 2020, 09:08:37 am »
Here's one to exercise your grey matter (no pun intended) whilst we're all grounded during the coronavivus lockdown.

Grey wife Sike (a small stream west of Cote Gill) was artificially channelled in the past, to avoid it sinking in various shakeholes where it meets the Great Scar Limestone at the foot of the Yoredale Series. Presumably this was to provide a water supply further down the hill. But the channel was deliberately curved to take the water to a large blocked shakehole at about SD73257125. (This is clearly shown on the 1:25,000 O.S. map.)

Close to the final quarter of a mile or so of this disused water course is a line of well built shooting butts but no obvious signs of any former building. So why was all the effort made to channel the water to a shakehole? Did there used to be a shooting hut there, of which there's now no remains? Or was the shakehole in question known to drain to a spring further down the hill which supplied one of the farms?

I've always wondered about this one; can anyone shed any light on it?

Offline Badlad

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2020, 09:15:06 am »
I've wondered about that too.  Was it a failed attempt to channel the water further - even down the hill to the village?

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2020, 09:26:14 am »
I'm not sure Badlad - if you look on the map (or walk the course of the now dry channel) it's remarkably straight for almost a mile, then suddenly deflects and goes straight to that shakehole.

I bet the late Dr John Farrer would have known the answer, as he was always very "hands on" in running the estate since the 1950s and was a mine of information about things like this. Sadly, he passed away six years ago.

Offline grahams

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2020, 09:42:44 am »
A little further east another sike runs across the western slope of Cote Gill. This can be seen on Google Earth but is not marked on the OS map. I'm not sure but I think this sike either fizzles out or drains to a shakehole. Further east again, Know Gap Sike, which is marked on the OS map, drains to a point near Clapdale Barn.

Perhaps the owners of Newby Cote could answer the question?
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2020, 10:13:01 am »
Knowe Gap Sike was certainly used to create a water supply as far as Clapdale farm buildings. I believe this system was superseded when the various hydraulic ram pumps were installed in Clapham Beck, in the first half of last Century. It must have been quite an ambitious project at the time and is more substantially constructed than the Grey Wife Sike.

Not sure about that other "sike" - is it actually a track? (Sometimes it's difficult to tell from Google Earth.) This area is local to me and I don't remember coming across a third sike just east of GWS - then again it's not always easy to spot such things when you're there in person.

I think the owner of much of the property at Newby Cote is the Estate.

Offline grahams

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2020, 10:36:01 am »
It's definitely a sike and is in quite good condition. We crossed it from above when descending into the bed of Cote Gill, so didn't follow the sike to it's downstream conclusion.  Although it is a while since I was up there, I don't think that I'm confusing the sike with Grey Wife Sike as this sike traverses the relatively steep upper slopes of Cote Gill. If Boris would let me, I'd like to take another look as you've raised an interesting question. Something else to add to an ever growing to-do list when house arrest ends.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2020, 10:38:16 am »
Thanks Graham; that's interesting.

There is an excellent book by David Johnson: "Ingleborough, Landscape and History" (2008, Carnegie Publishing, Lancaster; ISBN 978-1-85936-187-0). It's really good for answering questions like this and a glance at "Grey Wife Sike" in the index lists three pages. None of these sheds any light on this conundrum though.

Anyone got any ideas?

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2020, 11:56:33 am »
Phil Murphy has kindly been in contact to tell me that the shakehole where Grey Wife Sike ends was named "P1" by the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society when they did their classic water tracing programme on Ingleborough in the late 19th Century. They also successfully traced it to Moses Well ("S7") in the bottom of the Clapdale valley.

This makes it all the more curious that the course of Grey Wife Sike was clearly deflected so it ended at the P1 shakehole. (I think GWS was dug before the YGPS did their dye test though; perhaps it was just assumed that the P1 sink went elsewhere before the YGPS work?)

Offline JJ

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2020, 12:52:36 pm »
I too have often wondered why the sike ended in this shakehole. There is the remnant of an old solidly built building close to the sike at SD 7342 7157, I assume an old shooting hut??

I have pondered the immense amount of work involved in these sikes. Especially the Mill Race Water Cut above Masongill it attempted the capture the water from entering Swinsto, Simpsons, Rowten, Jingling and possibly Yordas - I bet that may have affected the flow in Keld Head! It was dug to supply Bideber Mill south of the A65 at SD 6601 7390 which was a corn mill dating from the 16th century. The cut was apparently still partially maintained as late as 1956.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2020, 01:17:27 pm »
Yes - that roofless building shows up well on Google Earth. It's a fair way up the hill from the P1 shakehole though, so perhaps not the reason the Sike was deflected to enter P1?
Phil wondered if it was done so it would augment Clapham Beck in drought conditions.

That Kingsdale one really was a major project. They didn't mess about in those days!

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2020, 01:42:00 pm »
Phil Murphy has kindly been in contact to tell me that the shakehole where Grey Wife Sike ends was named "P1" by the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society when they did their classic water tracing programme on Ingleborough in the late 19th Century. They also successfully traced it to Moses Well ("S7") in the bottom of the Clapdale valley.

This makes it all the more curious that the course of Grey Wife Sike was clearly deflected so it ended at the P1 shakehole. (I think GWS was dug before the YGPS did their dye test though; perhaps it was just assumed that the P1 sink went elsewhere before the YGPS work?)
Is it possible that the YG&PS dug the diversion?
It would have been a handy source of water for the test.

The  6 inch map of the area https://maps.nls.uk/os/6inch-england-and-wales/ from the late 19/early 20 century shows the original course of the sike passing the shake hole, then the shooting hut (where there is another short diversion) then disappearing some distance south of there.


Offline Robert Scott

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 02:02:13 pm »
Hello John, just to clarify as to what is the P1 as named by YGPS.  Newby Moss Pot lies between P2a and P2b so isn’t it likely that Newby Moss Pot and P1 are one and the same. It is quite believable that Newby Moss Pot would drain to Moses Well, whereas the shake hole at  SD 7325 7125 is unlikely to drain to Moses Well.
I would suspect that the Sike was cut to drain into the shake hole at  SD 7325 7125 as the diggers would know that the water would quickly appear at the spring line above the Newby Cote buildings and would also avoid digging the Sike across good intake land to the west of Newby Cote.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2020, 02:22:51 pm »
Good point Chocolate Fireguard - maybe the YGPS did obtain their water that way.

From the Google Earth image it certainly looks like GWS extended along the same trajectory beyond the point where it deviates to go to the P1 shakehole.

Then again, if the YGPS just wanted to nab the water, wouldn't it have been easier to dig their diversion trench perpendicularly, rather than from further up the hillside?

That mapping tool you gave the link to is extremely useful (thanks). I note that on the version which was surveyed in 1893 the downstream end of GWS does go to the P1 shakehole. That was before the YGPS work I think; if so, maybe the YGPS didn't alter the course of GWS after all?

Your post above refers to a shooting hut - is that the one between the 1250 ft & 1300 ft contours (marked on the 1896 published map)? Or is it lower down and nearer to the P1 shakehole?

Robert Scott - you must have been typing at the same time as me! P1 is definitely the shakehole which the present O.S. map shows the downstream end of GWS leading to (at SD73257125). The late 19th C YGPS map shows this clearly, with a drainage line running confidently from it straight to Moses Well. (Incidentally this is almost perfectly parallel with the line of the North Craven Fault, also shown on the same YGPS map.) It's a long way down the fell from the Newby Moss Pot / P2a / P2b group.

Offline psychocrawler

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2020, 05:31:14 pm »
If it is any use, neither Balderstone (Ingleton Bygone And Present) nor Speight (Craven and NW Yorkshire Highlands) reference Grey Wife Sike but both reference Knowe Gap Sike (Balderstone on a map and Speight in a description of a walk above Newby Cote). The YGPS stuff is the only thing I can find.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2020, 05:33:43 pm »
Thanks for looking at those Psychocrawler.

Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2020, 08:43:26 pm »
Good point Chocolate Fireguard - maybe the YGPS did obtain their water that way.

From the Google Earth image it certainly looks like GWS extended along the same trajectory beyond the point where it deviates to go to the P1 shakehole.

Then again, if the YGPS just wanted to nab the water, wouldn't it have been easier to dig their diversion trench perpendicularly, rather than from further up the hillside?

That mapping tool you gave the link to is extremely useful (thanks). I note that on the version which was surveyed in 1893 the downstream end of GWS does go to the P1 shakehole. That was before the YGPS work I think; if so, maybe the YGPS didn't alter the course of GWS after all?

Your post above refers to a shooting hut - is that the one between the 1250 ft & 1300 ft contours (marked on the 1896 published map)? Or is it lower down and nearer to the P1 shakehole?

Robert Scott - you must have been typing at the same time as me! P1 is definitely the shakehole which the present O.S. map shows the downstream end of GWS leading to (at SD73257125). The late 19th C YGPS map shows this clearly, with a drainage line running confidently from it straight to Moses Well. (Incidentally this is almost perfectly parallel with the line of the North Craven Fault, also shown on the same YGPS map.) It's a long way down the fell from the Newby Moss Pot / P2a / P2b group.
Sorry, I should have looked more carefully at your OP.
When I found GWS on the old map I just followed it S. from Knoutberry Hole to where it has obviously been diverted into a shakehole.
That shakehole, at SD73787232, is well N of the one you were talking about.
But I now wonder why that diversion was dug.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2020, 08:28:47 am »
Yes, it's a bit of a mystery.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2020, 07:18:07 pm »
Curious about this, I used my "exercise once a day" ration (and "no unnecessary driving") today to follow the whole course of Grey Wife Sike. This feedback will come in 2 or 3 posts, so I can add a few pictures. Most of what follows isn't cave-related, so if you're not interested, maybe don't bother reading further!

I started from Knoutberry Hole, where the stream first emerges from the ground at about SD73787296 (see photo). It took a bit of finding as there are various channels in the vicinity. The water dribbles out of the bank with no obvious cave entrance, very much like many other typical Yoredale Series springs. There was a fairly healthy flow, despite Ingleborough now being pretty dry. From here as far down as Newby Moss Pot etc, the Sike appears to be entirely natural.

It looks like the original course of the stream was straight into Newby Moss Pot shakehole and the excavated ditch leaves this natural watercourse a few metres before it slopes off into NMP. 

The artificial ditch then goes past P2a, where there are signs that the water also used to flow into the latter shakehole but not any more (at least not today). The map of Newby Moss area in the present edition of Northern Caves Volume 2 (1991) shows all the water draining into P2a but this doesn't seem to be the present situation; all flow continues in the artificial ditch beyond P2a.

However, about 60 m beyond P2a there is a third large shakehole on the west side of the ditch. All the water was flowing into this large shakehole today, with the continuation of the ditch bone dry.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2020, 07:31:48 pm »
Continuing southwards from the group of 3 large shakeholes described in my last post above (Newby Moss Pot etc) I followed the now dry ditch for about a further half a mile or so, to where there's the obvious shooting hut seen easily on Google Earth. Shortly before reaching the shooting hut, a branch of the ditch leaves on the west side; you can see this branch in the picture below (running from behind the building leftwards and upwards slightly in the picture).

The main Grey Wife Sike ditch continues on it's original course generally southwards and the branch ditch heads south westwards. I didn't follow the branch ditch today but, if it maintains this trajectory, it would end up not far above Bleak Bank farm. Robert Scott and I had a useful phone conversation this afternoon and he pointed out that the map shows an obvious line of springs above the "back road" (the original turnpike section between Clapham and Ingleton) but none is near to Bleak Bank. It seems likely the branch channel from the shooting hut may have provided a water supply for this farm. (Next time I bump into the farmer I'll ask if he knows anything about this; I think the farm's been in his family for a long time.)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2020, 07:45:44 pm »
Continuing further southwards along Grey Wife Sike, it can be followed all the way down the hill to the P1 shakehole as described in earlier posts in this topic. This picture shows the final part of the Sike where it has deviated south westwards to the shakehole. The two objects in among the reeds at the bottom of this shakehole are sheep feed bags.

However, there may be a further channel continuing from where the more obvious one goes to P1 (i.e. continuing roughly southwards on the east side of the P1 shakehole; this is not shown on the O.S. map. It's very overgrown and I lost it before reaching the wall at the northern end of the fields. It's possible that this was used as a supplementary water supply to the various buildings at Newby Cote. (I say supplementary because there is a substantial spring on a bench in the small quarry immediately to the north of (i.e. above) Newby Cote. (This is the stream which eventually flows through the village of Newby, further down the hill.) But the flow from this spring wasn't especially great today and there are quite a few buildings at Newby Cote, so a supplementary supply from Grey Wife Sike could have been useful in dry conditions.

In the next post I'll add a different view of the P1 shakehole. However, I'm coming round to the view that Grey Wife Sike was used to supply two or more groups of buildings and Chocolate Fireguard's suggestion that the YGPS may have dug the section of ditch leading to the P1 shakehole to enable them to do their test may well be right.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2020, 08:09:19 pm »
My final post of four, on today's investigations; this photo of the P1 shakehole is taken looking ESE. The far horizon is beyond the large Cote Gill valley and you can just see a building with some trees to the right of it. That's Knowe Gap (marked on the 1:25,000 map). This is adjacent to that other great drainage project called Knowe Gap Sike (but that's a different story). If you draw a line on the map from the P1 shakehole, through Knowe Gap, you pretty much arrive at Moses Well in the next valley over (Clapdale). Also, the trend of this line almost exactly matches the direction of main faulting in the limestones of this part of Ingleborough, which is parallel with the North and South Craven faults not far away to the right (in this view). So it's entirely believable that any water sinking at P1 is probably guided along a fault, straight to Moses Well (and probably Cat Hole as well in flood conditions).

(The trees visible at extreme right in this photo are part of the obvious L shaped plantation shown on the map around SD737707.)

That's about all I can report which is of use from today. Next time I get chance I'll try and follow the branch ditch from the shooting hut down the fell and see if I can confirm where it leads to.

(Further note - I seem to be struggling to upload this final image, which is potentially of greater interest to cavers. I might have to send it to Badlad and ask if he can make it work!)

Offline 2xw

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2020, 10:39:25 pm »
Post war, the government paid grants to try to make land like this useable for grazing and agriculture. Gamekeepers also did it to encourage Calluna dominance which is good for grouse. Might it be that they just wanted to drain a particular patch of ground into a convenient hole? Bog drainage ditches are normally in a curved "herringbone" shape.

Offline Badlad

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2020, 10:41:20 pm »
Here you go - sorry for the delay


Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2020, 07:31:08 am »
Thanks very much for your help Badlad!

One other snippet which might be worth adding here; Charles Dracup's excellent article on the discovery of Newby Moss Pot (Gritstone Club Journal 1969, News Series No. 3 [published Autumn 1970] pages 3 - 8, plus fold out plan & elevation) states:

". . . we strolled across to Grey Wife Sike and the deep shakehole where it used to sink, named "P.2" by the Yorkshire Geological Society water tracers . . ."

The three words I've highlighted support the above idea that the Sike originally sank at Newby Moss Pot (P2) before being artificially diverted.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2020, 07:35:12 am »
Post war, the government paid grants to try to make land like this useable for grazing and agriculture. Gamekeepers also did it to encourage Calluna dominance which is good for grouse. Might it be that they just wanted to drain a particular patch of ground into a convenient hole? Bog drainage ditches are normally in a curved "herringbone" shape.

Thanks 2xw, yes, I'm sure you're right. I remember the "gripping" that went on when was a very young caver and assorted warnings of greater flood risk as a result. But Grey Wife Sike goes back much further than the post war times; it's shown draining into the P1 shakehole on maps from the late Victorian era.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2020, 09:04:36 am »
Another piece of the jigsaw; Grey Wife Sike is shown on the BGS mapping tool:

http://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/geologyofbritain/home.html

(You have to keep zooming in until the geology disappears at large scale, when you then just get a land surface map with water courses marked on it.)

It shows Grey Wife Sike continuing beyond the P1 shakehole, all the way to and past Newby Cote. This adds weight to the idea that one of the branches of GWS did supply some of the buildings at Newby Cote.

Offline grahams

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2020, 09:48:48 am »
Does the geological map show the water going beyond P1 via a sike? The line is straight, possible implying the that water has been tested to a spring near Newby Cote, or that it is an assumed drainage route. The same applies to Thack Pot Sike to Clapham Beck further east. Also, man-made watercourses appear to be denoted by a line with side flecks - this is very hard to see due to the colour scheme. The straight sections of line do not have these flecks.

The map also shows short water man-made courses in Cote Gill with no apparent reason for existence. Examination of these might throw some light on the question.

I've been racking what's left of my brain regarding our walkabout in the area a while back. I remember that we walked down from the NMP area into the bed of Cote Gill and onto the well defined track to a point about 1km NE of Newby Cote. On the way down we came across a sike lined by slate? slabs running across the Cote Gill slope.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2020, 10:02:26 am »
Thanks; I've never seen a slate-lined sike but I'll certainly keep my eyes open in future. I have memories of large (broken) half-round sections of earthenware pipe in another sike up the top end of Cote Gill, more to the east side (but that was probably part of Knowe Gap Sike).

On the image I viewed on that BGS resource, it was just a single blue line heading southwards then SSW, deflecting south west to the P1 shakehole but then continuing on southwards from there to Newby Cote. I'll send you a screen shot by PM. (Bit wary of posting it here as I'm not certain about the copyright situation).

Offline grahams

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2020, 04:43:55 pm »
The Soil Observatory map gives a slightly clearer view of the watercourses but doesn't quite match the BGS map. The URL is http://mapapps2.bgs.ac.uk/ukso/home.html

For even more hours of fascination and enjoyment, there's DEFRA's Magic Map with its hundreds of selectable layers which tell you everything you're ever going to want to know about our landscape. MM is particularly useful if you're in the process of buying a house as it contains info regarding flood risk and anything nasty (such as polluted land) which might be nearby. The URL for the introduction is https://magic.defra.gov.uk and https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx for the maps. There's lots of information regarding protected areas, limestone pavement orders and SSSIs to name but a few.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2020, 09:53:12 am »
Quick update - I've been in contact with David Johnson, who wrote that Ingleborough book referred to above. He's going to go and have another look at Grey Wife Sike, once the lockdown is eased. We may well learn more then.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2020, 03:52:41 pm »
Have now had chance to walk the westerly branch of the ditch which leaves Grey Wife Sike near the shooting hut. It trends WSW diagonally down the fell side for about half a mile and leads to the 3-way Y-shaped wall junction at SD72597133 near Bleak Bank, where there's a gate. Just before reaching this wall / gate the ditch splits into two. Both branches go through the wall but are then impossible to trace (probably because the downhill side of the wall is cultivated land and will no doubt have been ploughed a lot since the ditches fell into disuse).

It seem likely the left hand (looking downhill) branch would have supplied Bleak Bank farm, as suggested in a post above. The likely destination of the right hand branch is difficult to work out but it's not impossible that it went to the hamlet of Cold Cotes. However, the steep road down to Cold Cotes from the "back road" above (i.e. from the original turnpike between Clapham & Ingleton) has a ditch alongside it with a stream flowing along it, even though conditions at the moment are very dry. So there must be a separate spring supplying this ditch, which would no doubt have been made use of as a water supply by dwellings in Cold Cotes.

Clearly, there's rather more to this old irrigation system than merely the single ditch shown on the 1:25,000 map.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2020, 03:50:09 pm »
Just a bit of additional information, to try to complete the whole picture (and perhaps with a bonus of having speleological / hydrological interest?). If you go along the back road from Clapham to Ingleton, shortly before you reach the turn off down to Cold Cotes, there is a rising called Blindfield Well or Blind Spring (SD72127132). It's in a walled enclosure with a few small trees in it, directly opposite from the roadside boundary stone. The enclosure is on the right of the road (travelling Ingletonwards) not far before an isolated house on the left called Cod Bank Barn (a barn conversion at SD 72047143). Lots of readers will have driven past this many times without realising it's there. In the attached picture the actual rising is under a rusty steel sheet at lower right; Cod Bank Barn is visible on the left of the road in the distance.

This rising is the source of Goat Gap Sike, which often carries a considerable flow in wet conditions. The stream isn't obvious from the road because the stream is culverted in this area. However, its course is visible on the Google Earth image. I mention it in this topic because there is a hill between the rising and the hamlet of Cold Cotes, which might have made a diversion to supply Cold Cotes from Goat Gap Sike difficult. This may lend weight to the idea that a branch of Grey Wife Sike was once used to supplement the other (small) spring-fed trickle which flows alongside the road down to Cold Cotes, at times of shortage.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2020, 06:40:35 pm »
Just to return to this topic, which we discussed at length during the very worst of the coronavirus restrictions - David Johnson has made two trips recently, to investigate the irrigation / drainage aspects associated with Grey Wife Sike. He's prepared the notes below, which I've reproduced here in their entirety. Cavers with no great interest in this topic in general may find item 5 worthy of consideration however.

I'd like to thank David for his time, effort and attention to detail on this one.

...

Field notes, Grey Wife Sike, 13 June 2020

1. the stream from Knoutberry Hole (SD73779 72960) to the shakehole at SD73708 72275 is a natural feature.

2. the manmade channel leaves the stream at SD73711 72325 at 457m AOD (image 81, looking south).

3. water flows within the channel up to SD73700 72333 (457m AOD).

4. it is joined by a modern grip at SD73688 72290 so the channel becomes wider and deeper than hitherto.

5. the line of the channel is cut by a shakehole at SD73648 72225 (450m AOD) which means the channel predates the shakehole’s creation.

6. the channel bypasses another shakehole and then loses its definition in a scatter of shakeholes centred on SD73616 72146 (444m AOD) (image 82 looking south).

7. the channel then becomes more defined with a width of 600mm and depth of 300mm (image 83 looking south).

8. it continues as a well defined feature (images 84 looking north and 85 looking south).

9. after a pronounced break of slope at SD73563 71784 (428m  AOD) it is even more defined with a max width of 1m and depth of 600mm (image 86 looking south).

10. the channel bifurcates just before the shooting box, at SD73460 71593 (403m AOD) with one b ranch heading south and the other south-west (images 87 looking south-west and 88 looking south).

11. the south-west branch starts off with the same characteristics as the channel from here northwards but soon after passing below the cabin it is very different with long straight lengths and vertical, fresh-looking sides. The southern branch is as sinuous as the channel north from here.

12. the south branch develops a pronounced V-shaped profile with average depth of 500mm and average width of 600-700mm.

13. the southern branch  terminates c. 5m short of the pothole at SD7325 7122.

14. the south-western branch largely, but not completely, loses definition in a shallow limestone quarry centred on SD73167 71487 (images 89 looking south-west and 90 looking north-east).

15. this channel reaches the inbye headwall above Bleak bank at SD72589 71344 but there is no sign of a water smoot in the wall.

16. northern section – length c 800m, height loss 54m = gradient 1:15                                                                                          south-western section – c. 900m to the headwall, height loss 108m  = gradient 1:8                                                                   southern section – c. 400m, height loss 75m = gradient 1:5

17. the First Edition OS 6-inch map, surveyed in 1846-47, marks Grey Wife Sike  only from Knoutberry Hole running south to a point level with the northern pothole (as in no. 1).
The Second Edition, surveyed in 1893, shows Grey Wife Sike running as far south as the southern pothole (as in no. 13) with the south-western branch only running a few metres past the shooting box at which point it terminates.
The Revised Edition of 1907 is as the 1893 edition.

18. Interpretations:
a. the Sike is natural from Knoutberry Hole to the northern pothole

b. from thence it is entirely manmade

c. beyond the (1893) terminus the south-western branch is a product of the twentieth century cut to tap into a series of ephemeral water flows from its uphill side

d. I can think of only one logical reason why the southern branch was cut to the southern pothole. I carefully looked beyond the pothole for any trace of where a channel might once have continued but  saw nothing. Indeed to the south of the pothole there is slightly rising ground, so it always ended at the pothole. 

e. the style of the southern branch is no different from that to the north: both were dug by hand.
f. the main channel, south from where it leaves the natural stream, was dug at some point between 1848 and 1892.

g. similarly, the shooting box was erected within the same time span.

h. from points f and g it can be concluded that the channel as far south as the shooting box was cut to supply water, when needed, to shooting parties. Grouse shooting on the Ingleborough Estate in the late nineteenth century was a major source of Estate income; indeed, the Farrers bought and developed it primarily as a shooting estate. Other shooting boxes on the Estate had readily accessible water supplies – Moughton Whetstone Hole, The Allotment and Gayle Beck Lodge. This one, on Wetherpot Heath, did not.

i. I can offer no proof as to why the southern branch was cut except that a line of shooting butts closely parallels the channel so I would suggest that the southern channel was cut as a drainage feature to dry out the land along the line of butts. In those days the guns were mollycoddled much more than nowadays.

Compiled by Dr David Johnson
 

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: A question about Grey Wife Sike on Ingleborough
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2020, 07:41:57 pm »
Just for completeness, I recently walked up the ditch which comes down the N W flank of Cote Gill. It's fairly straight and obvious for some distance (heading just east of north - visible on Google Earth) but as you go over the immediate skyline (with Hurnell Ridge Sink away to your right) it seems to split into a few smaller and less directly aligned ditches. At least two of these may rejoin before it swings left to go directly up the hillside, to pass within a few tens of metres to the SW of Grey Wife Hole. Beyond here it becomes so indistinct I couldn't follow it with confidence. It may have captured water either from Grey Wife Sike itself or from the stream sinking into the Grey Wife Hole shakehole.

 

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