The origins of Holderness

University of Hull


30 000 years ago

At this time the area that was to become Holderness was beneath the North Sea. The coastline, consisting of Chalk cliffs, swept down from Bridlington in the north, through Driffield, Beverley and Hessle.

15 000 years ago

At this time the great North Sea Ice Sheet covered all of Holderness. Only the higher land of the Wolds stood above this frozen, icy landscape.

10 000 years ago

By now the ice sheet had melted leaving behind a thick deposit of mud, sand and gravel. Sea level was much lower than it is at the present time and much of the present North Sea was dry land.

2 000 years ago

By now sea level had returned to its present height. The North sea was washing against Holderness, a wet and wooded region with many marshes and meres. This was the landscape that the Romans and people of the Iron Age knew.
Present day

Present day

Several more kilometres of coastline have been lost over the last two millennia but much land has been gained by reclaimation in the Humber. Most of the marshland has been drained and the only lake left is Hornsea Mere.