Describe and explain the changes that take place in land use of the River Tees drainage basin
In the first course of the River Tees, the land is usually not usable. There is snow melt from the mountains, this causes dead area and not crops can be grown and the conditions are too harsh for any animals in Britain to live in. This also causes very snowy, rainy and cold weather which also makes it impossible for pastoral farming.
There is also marshy moorlands around the source, so again the land can not be used for any form of faming. There is also the hilly situation. The land is not flat as it runs down then Pennines, the interlocking spurs cause a large difference in land angles and a v-shaped valley is formed around the river.
This is not ideal for farming, travelling and, because of the poor weather conditions, the rain will run down the lands, possibly causing floods. A bit lower down the river, the weather is not so extreme and the land is used for sheep grazing. There is not much grass so there is not much available. There is also the Cow Green reservoir, on the Tees itself built in 1970. This means that the water can be controlled by humans, therefore stopping excess water pouring through the river. This means the flood plain is going to be usable for farming because the river flow will be controlled, therefore stopping floods which would ruin the land.
This also helps the risk of flooding further down the course by lowering the hydraulic action. High Force waterfall is a large feature of the Rive Tees. It affects the land because it is constantly forming a gorge of recession. This happens because the soft rock, limestone underneath the hard rock, Whinstone is eroded by the water, this causes the hard rock to fall. This cycle is repeated and the waterfall slowly moves up the river. This is also a tourist attraction, which could cause the land to be quite rough due to walkers, tourists and their cars.
There is also pastoral farming around the waterfall, because the land is unaffected by the water, due to the low plunge pool. In the middle course, the shape of the river obviously changes. Higher up it was reasonably straight and narrow, with many small tributaries. In the middle course of the Tees, there are many large meanders and the river is very wide and with only a few large tributaries. This changes the land quite a lot. The meanders cause change in the river course. Ox-bow lakes are formed by the large hydraulic action eroding the insides of meanders, cutting of the curve.
This will then eventually dry up and leave meander scars on the land. This could mean the scars grow different land to the surrounding area and not suitable in comparison. For example if the land around a meander scar is used for arable farming, but a newly grown section is suitable for pastoral farming, there is wasted land. The meanders are so large that form Darlington to Teesmouth it is 30km as the crow flies, but going by river it is 75km long. And in the 19th centaury, some of the river was manually cut-off to shorten boat journeys up to Stockton and Yarm, so it was even longer.
In 1810, the Tees Navigation Company cut the neck of the Mandale Loop, a large meander near Stockton. This shortened the route by 4km and more was artificially straightened. The water now moves faster but the flood risk is also lower. The meanders also cause a higher risk of flood, because the water travels very fast in large quantities. This means the surrounding land is fertile and used for agriculture. In this course of the river, the meanders home a small town called Yarm which is a historic market town. Yarm has a few settlements and a local church. This means the land is civilised and is used for transport and living on.
Yarm was once an Inland Port which was prone to flooding. A Flood Defence Scheme was set up in Yarm and spent i??2. 1 million on reducing the flood risk. They reinforced concrete walls, built flood gates, used gabions to protect walls and embankments, built fishing platforms and replanted any land that was ruined by floods. In the lower part of the middle course, in-between Stockton and Yarm, a barrage was built in 1995. It cost i??54 million to build and controls 22km of river. It was built because it was harshly affecting the surrounding land because of the permanent high tide, resulting in a very high flood risk.
Because it has lowered the flood risk and there is also no tidal mix now, it is a catalyst for 500 million of investment in offices, houses, education, leisure and shopping. This obviously changes the land use as it is not used for farming but more economic purposes. The key points of how land use has changed in the Middle course to the upper because it is a lot flatter, has larger meanders and has an urban settlement. In the lower course of the river there are large areas of flat muddy land. This land is used for migratory birds and seals for example, hence why they are called Seal Sands.
However, the majority of the land use in the lower course of the Tees in industrial. It homes oil refineries, aluminium smelters, stockyard, railways and more. This causes pollution in the river and the surrounding land, and is both domestic and industrial, because there are also many settlements. This has been helped recently by the Government, who closed down some industry and waste has been cleaned. The land around the mouth of the river is very marshy with some drained land as well. It is impossible to grow crops on and to use pastorally. It is very industrial supporting many boats with imports and boats with exports.
It is very urban with large settlements and cities. It is much wider than the rest of the river and the water is very deep for shipping. Bridges have also been made, encouraging the land to be used for transport. Overall, there is a very large change of land use throughout the drainage basin of the River Tees. It starts of being very marshy and in an extremely quiet location, becoming more arable and pastoral, then small settlements are introduced. Next the farming is not longer appropriate and the settlements are larger, with a very large industrial area at the bottom of the river.