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Remote Rural Area Case Study – Weardale, Co. Durham (With a focus on St Johns Chapel). Within this section of work you need to learn about the following. Population change. Service provision. What are the traditional industries within Weardale?. Essentially primary based . Agriculture.

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Remote Rural Area Case Study – Weardale, Co. Durham (With a focus on St Johns Chapel)

Within this section of work you need to learn about the following

  • Population change
  • Service provision

What are the traditional industries within Weardale?

  • Essentially primary based
  • Agriculture
  • Extractive, e.g.. mining
  • Forestry

Agriculture – What has happened in recent years?

  • The type of farming is predominately hill sheep
  • Over the last 15 years the dale has been significantly affected by issues such as BSE, and more recently foot and mouth
  • This has resulted in falling employment and resulted in some farms being sold

Mining – Blue Circle Cement

  • Was the largest employer in the dale
  • Closed down Aug 2002

St Johns Chapel an example of a Remote Rural settlement

  • Population, what is happening to population in the dale?
  • Selective out migration particularly the younger age groups (economically active). An ageing population is now evident

Locational disadvantages – These factors have contributed to St Johns Chapel’s isolation

  • 26 miles from major town (Bishop Auckland)
  • 14 miles from nearest secondary school (Wolsingham)
  • 14 miles from nearest swimming pool
  • Only served by one “A” road A691

What is happening to services?

  • Lots of closure in the last 50 years
  • Barclays Bank closed down in 7th April 2000
  • Closure since 1950
  • Chemist
  • 6 shops and general dealers
  • Bakers
  • 2 Public Houses

Transport services

  • Weardale Buses provide a service, but it is infrequent and expensive. It also doesn’t serve outlining settlements which are even more remote than St. Johns Chapel
  • Weardale once had its own railway line, this closed to the public in the 50’s, but was used by Blue Circle Cement until the early 80’s

Why are the services shutting down?

  • Declining population – This results in a reduced Threshold
  • Increased car ownership
  • Growth of out of town shopping centres
  • Changing shopping habits – Internet

What is the dale trying to do to regenerate?

  • Encourage inward investment
  • Diversify into tourism

What conclusions can be drawn?

Due to the factors discussed, St. Johns Chapel has become increasingly maginalised. Not only has it many locational disadvantages but with a declining population due to decreasing employment opportunities many existing services are closing down.

It could be said that the remaining population is becoming socially excluded and lack many basic amenities, a similar problem to those faced by people in the Inner City.