Historical constraints on slope movement age: a case study at Broadway, United Kingdom

Malcolm Whitworth, W. Murphy, Dave Giles, D. Petley

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The Broadway area of the Cotswolds has been extensively investigated in an attempt to delineate areas of slope instability, including‘relict’landslides, which may have been initiated under periglacial climatic conditions. It is, therefore, useful both in terms of the geomorphology and of the understanding of the evolution of the area, to investigate the rates and timing of any reactivation and subsequent movements of landslides in this area. The remains of ridge and furrow cultivation can be seen extensively throughout the Cotswolds. This particular agricultural practice, which documentary evidence suggests dates back to Anglo-Saxon times (approximately 10th century AD), has been disturbed in many places by slope movements. A detailed study of Parish Records and other local his-torical sources has revealed that ridge and furrow cultivation ceased on Parliamentary Enclosure, which in this area, occurred in 1771. Therefore, it is possible to identify patterms of slope movement between these dates. Landslides have been identified by ground mapping and aerial photography, and can be divided into three categories. Firstly, active landslides which are those which have shown evidence of movement during the study period. Secondly, suspended landslides, which show evidence of movement, but have not been observed to move during the study period. In this context, this has been taken to mean landslides, which have shown evidence of movement since 1771. Thirdly, relict landslides which have shown no evidence of movement since 1771 and thus were probably active under a different climatic regime. By incorporating historical data with the geomorphological survey it has been possible to identify areas of potentially difficult ground for engineering geomorphological purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
JournalGeographical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


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