NY9579 : Low hills south of Houky Hill

taken 11 months ago, near to Thockrington, Northumberland, Great Britain

Low hills south of Houky Hill
Low hills south of Houky Hill
Houky Hill is one of a ridge of low hills of the Great Whin Sill which rise from farmland (mainly pasture) to the south-west of Quarry House. The summit of Houky Hill itself is only 225m and is on the west side of the boundary which divides that farm from the farm of North Heugh to the north.

The Ordnance Survey Name Book for Thockrington parish (c1860) describes Houky Hill (just visible here on the left and in NY9680 : View south from North Heugh) as: "A slight eminence on the North Heugh farm. A herb famous for curing coughs is said to grow upon it".
LinkExternal link

The Scottish word, howk, means to dig the soil, or to uproot or remove from the ground by digging. Perhaps this could also refer to the collection of a medicinal plant. A rare aromatic umbelliferous plant still grows here, Spignel (Meum athamanticum) LinkExternal link

This plant is recorded as nationally scarce, near threatened, and locally rare. The low Whin Sill hillock of Houky Hill in Northumberland is one of about 10 sites where it is known in England and was the first recorded site in Britain. There were estimated to be 2100 plants there in 2008. The local name for the plant was 'howka' or 'hook-a' so the plant and the hill names remain connected.
The Rare and Scarce Plants of South Northumberland (2016): LinkExternal link Archive LinkExternal link
Northumberland by Angus Lunn (2004)
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NY9579, 19 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Thursday, 12 November, 2020   (more nearby)
Thursday, 12 November, 2020
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Paths  Boundary, Barrier  Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening  Grassland  Rivers, Streams, Drainage 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 9592 7958 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:6.6363N 2:3.9296W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NY 95829 79460
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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