Gill (ravine)

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A Gill or Ghyll is a ravine or narrow valley in the North of England and other parts of the United Kingdom. The word originates from the Old Norse Gil.[1] Examples include Dufton Ghyll Wood, Dungeon Ghyll, Troller's Gill and Trow Ghyll. As a related usage, Gaping Gill is the name of a cave, not the associated stream, and Cowgill, Masongill and Halton Gill are derived names of villages.[2]

The stream flowing through a Gill is often referred to as a Beck: for example in Swaledale, Gunnerside Beck flows through Gunnerside Ghyll. Beck is also used as a more general term for streams in the north of England – examples include Ais Gill Beck and Arkle Beck. In the North Pennines, the word Sike or Syke[3] is found in similar circumstances. This is particularly common in the Appleby Fells area where sikes significantly outnumber the becks and gills; it can also be seen in the name of Eden Sike Cave in Mallerstang.

In the High Weald Gills are deeply cut ravines, usually with a stream in the base which historically eroded the ravine. These Gills may be up to 200 ft (60 metres) deep, which represents a significant physiographic feature in lowland England.[4]

References / notes[edit]

  • Gill (ravine). Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 5 November, 2017.
  1. Anderson, G. K. (1938). "Two Ballads from Nineteenth Century Ohio". The Journal of American Folklore. 51 (199): 38–46. doi:10.2307/535942.  "I suggest-and it is only a tentative suggestion-that "g(u)ile" is "gill," spelled by Wordsworth "ghyll," a ravine or valley inclosing a small water-course."
  2. Daelnet placenames index, accessed 1 April 2012
  3. "The earthworks and keep, Appleby Castle" (PDF). 
  4. Rose F & Patmore J M (1997) "Weald Gill Woodlands"

Glossary of terms[edit]

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