Hotspot 2: Kingsdale
Kingsdale is one of the most impressive glacial troughs in the Yorkshire Dales. Over the past 2 million years great ice sheets advanced and retreated across this area, perhaps more than 20 times.
The glaciers carved out the Kingsdale valley leaving the ‘U-shaped’ valley that we are looking into.
However, since the end of the last glaciation about 12,000 years ago, the original glacial valley has been infilled by deposits left by the glaciers and from scree material which has fallen from the valley sides after frost shattering has loosened them.
The feature we are standing on to take this panorama, Raven Ray, is an ice deposit called a terminal moraine (see this on the diagram). It is a ridge of rock debris which was deposited across the valley as the Kingsdale glacier retreated. At one point it may have blocked the River Twiss completely, forming a lake in Kingsdale. The very flat bottom of the valley today gives us a clue.
The farmer has improved the fields for grazing on this former lake bed. Water from the lake eventually overflowed at the eastern (lower) end of the moraine carving a new channel for the river and creating a gorge. Over the years the River Twiss has downcut its channel and rejoins its old course below Thornton Force.
- What do you notice about the shape of the valley?
- Describe the topography of the valley floor.
View of Kingsdale valley floor