Bucks County through valley inventory by township

Authors

This inventory is an effort to identify each township’s most prominent through valley, or through valleys and many less prominent through valleys are not included. The through valleys provide evidence of former drainage routes that can best be explained in the context of massive and prolonged southwest oriented floods that were sequentially captured by headward erosion of deeper valleys, including the Delaware River valley. The most logical water source would be melting of a large continental ice sheet.

Bedminster Township

A 160-foot deep through valley links the southwest oriented East Branch Perkiomen Creek headwaters with northeast oriented tributaries to southeast and east oriented Tohickon Creek.

Bensalem Township

The SEPTA West Trenton Rail Line near the Trevose Station is located in a shallow northeast to southwest oriented through linking a northeast oriented Neshaminy Creek segment with the Huntingdon Valley to the southwest. Neshaminy Creek flows in a south direction to Neshaminy Falleys and then turns in a northeast direction to flow along the through valley orientation before turning to flow in a southeast and south direction to join the southwest oriented Delaware River.

The northeast oriented CSX Rail Line at La Trappe (south of Trevose) is located in a similar shallow through valley linking a northeast oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary with a south oriented valley draining to southeast and south oriented Poquessing Creek.

Bridgeton Township

The south oriented Delaware River makes an interesting bend as it flows in a northeast east and southeast direction to form the Bridgeton Township northern border. East of Coffman Hill (elevation 826-diabase bedrock) are two north oriented Delaware River tributaries, linked by shallow through valleys (20-40 feet deep) with the south oriented Beaver Creek drainage basin, which flows to southeast and northeast oriented Tinicum Creek, which in turn flows to the south oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary.

Bristol Township 

Bristol Township is located along the northwest side of the southwest oriented Delaware River and is on the coastal plain without significant hills and valleys.

Buckingham Township

See Solebury Township discussion about through valley near Five Points linking Aquetong Creek and a southwest and south oriented Pidcock Creek tributary.

On the northwest side of Buckingham Mountain (elevation 520+ feet) is a northeast to southeast oriented through valley (floor elevation less than 300 feet) linking the northeast oriented Aquetong Creek drainage basin (with water flowing to the south-southeast oriented Delaware River) with southwest oriented tributaries to southeast and south oriented Mill Creek, which flows to southeast and south oriented Neshaminy Creek with water eventually reaching the southwest oriented Delaware River.

Doylestown Township

Several very shallow northeast to southwest oriented through valleys can be seen crossing the Doylestown Township area. One such through valley links the south-southeast oriented stream valley found in the golf course on the south side of Doylestown with a southwest oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary valley (the railroad is located on the northeast side of this through valley for a stretch as it travels from Delaware Valley University to Doylestown Station. This through valley is only 40-60 feet deep, but it does provide evidence of former southwest oriented flow.

Further to the southeast is a northeast oriented Neshaminy Creek segment and north and west of that segment is a hill reaching 360+ feet. North and west of that hill is a through valley drained by a southwest oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary and an east oriented tributary to an unnamed south oriented stream that joins Neshaminy Creek at the downstream end of its northeast oriented segment.

Durham Township 

Between Buckwampum Hill (870ft) and Chestnut Hill (743ft) a north-south valley at an elevation of about 460 feet links a north oriented tributary to northeast and southeast oriented Cooks Creek with southeast and north oriented Gallows Run, both flowing to Delaware River. Gallows Run joins Delaware as a barbed tributary at a point where the Delaware River turns from flowing in a south direction to flow in a northeast direction.

East Rockhill Township

Rock Hill (elevation 850 feet) is a high point on a linear east to northeast oriented ridge located between Perkasie and Quakertown. Several north to south oriented through valleys cross that ridge and are used by roads and railroads with the former Reading Railroad line located in the through valley immediately west of Rock Hill (Rock Hill Station is located on that line). That through valley links a north oriented Tohickon Creek tributary on the west side of Rock Hill with the northeast oriented Threemile Run valley on the east side of Rock Hill. Interestingly Tohickon Creek originates north of Quakertown and flows in a south-southeast direction to join the north oriented tributary and a south oriented tributary and then turns to flow in a northeast and south-southeast direction across the diabase ridge and joins the northeast oriented Threemile Run valley at Lake Nockamixon where it turns again to flow in a northeast, southeast, east, and south-southeast direction to join the southeast oriented Delaware River. East of Quakertown north oriented Tohickon Creek headwaters are joined by a south oriented barbed tributary.

Falls Township

This township is in the Bucks County corner where the Delaware River turns from flowing in a southeast direction to flow in a southwest direction. Van Sciver Lake (and the roughly parallel Delaware Canal) is located in what may be a south-southwest channel linking the southeast oriented Delaware River channel with the southwest oriented Delaware River channel.

Haycock Township

See Springfield Township for discussion of Cooks Creek-Tohickon Creek divide located at the north end of the Quakertown basin.

On the west side of Haycock Mountain (elevation 960+ feet) is a north to south oriented through valley (defined by two 20-foot contour lines on the west) linking a north oriented tributary to southeast oriented Haycock Creek with a south oriented tributary to Nockamixon Lake and Tohickon Creek. West of the through valley the ridge rises to 705 feet. Also west of the ridge is the south oriented Dimple Creek valley, which is linked by a through valley in Springfield Township with east oriented headwaters of southeast oriented Haycock Creek. Dimple Creek also flows to Lake Nockamixon in the northeast oriented Threemile Run valley.

Hilltown Township

The East Branch Perkiomen Creek flows in a southwest direction through Hilltown Township (between Perkasie and Sellersville) roughly parallel to and southeast of the East Branch Perkiomen Creek is a ridge with a remarkably straight through valley on the southeast side of it. The through valley is drained (from the southwest to the northeast) by northeast and southwest oriented tributaries to north oriented Mill Creek (which flows through a north oriented water gap to reach southwest oriented East Branch Perkiomen Creek), northeast and southwest oriented tributaries and a northeast oriented segment of Pleasant Spring Creek (which flows through a northwest oriented water gap to reach the East Branch Perkiomen Creek), and a southwest oriented tributary to north and northwest oriented Morris Run (which also flows through a water gap to reach the East Branch Perkiomen Creek). The straight ridge is mapped as the Triassic age Lockatong Formation and is surrounded on both sides by Triassic age Brunswick Formation.

Lower Makefield Township

The SEPTA West Trenton Rail Line roughly follows a very shallow (20-40 foot deep-floor elevation about 160 feet) through valley linking northeast and north oriented Brock Creek with southwest and south oriented Mill Creek as it travels from Woodbourne Station in Middletown Township into Lower Makefield Township. Brock Creek flows to the southeast oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary and Mill Creek flows to the southwest oriented Delaware River as a normal tributary.

Lower Southampton Township

The southwest to northeast oriented Huntingdon Valley crosses the southern corner of Lower Southampton Township where it is drained by south oriented Poquessing Creek and an east-northeast oriented Poquessing Creek tributary. Further to the southwest the valley is drained by a west-southwest oriented Huntingdon Valley Creek segment and east-northeast oriented Meadow Brook to south oriented Pennypack Creek with south oriented Tookany Creek draining the valley still further to the southwest. Northeast of Lower Southampton Township the valley is drained by an east and northeast oriented tributary to a northeast oriented Neshaminy Creek segment. Upstream from that segment Neshaminy Creek flows in a south direction and downstream from that segment Neshaminy Creek flows in a southeast and south direction.

Middletown Township

The SEPTA West Trenton Rail line and US Business Route 1 are located in a shallow northeast to southwest through valley linking a south-southwest oriented Mill Creek segment with a northeast oriented Neshaminy Creek segment. Rather than continuing in a northeast direction along the through valley alignment Neshaminy Creek turns to flow in a southeast and south direction to join the southwest oriented Delaware River. The through valley north wall rises approximately 100 feet, although the south wall may be less than 20 feet high at the valley’s shallowest points.

Milford Township

Milford Township is located at the Bucks County corner bounded on the southwest by Montgomery County and on the northwest by Lehigh County and is drained by south oriented Unami Creek and a series of southeast oriented Unami Creek tributaries that originate just across the county line in Lehigh County. These southeast-oriented Unami Creek tributaries are linked by through valleys (generally less than 100 feet deep) with the southwest and south oriented Hosensack Creek drainage basin, which drains to Perkiomen Creek.

New Britain Township

The prominent features in New Britain Township are the southwest oriented Pine Run and valley the North Branch Neshaminy Creek valley (with Lake Galena in it) and the elbows of capture where they turn in a south direction before joining east oriented Neshaminy Creek. The North Branch Neshaminy where it turns cuts an 80-100 foot deep water gap across the southwest to northeast oriented ridge known further to the northeast as Plumstead Hill. The southwest oriented North Branch Neshaminy Creek valley continues in a southwest direction as a shallow through valley and is drained by a southwest, south, and southeast oriented West Branch Neshaminy Creek tributary.

Newtown Township

Two shallow through valleys connect the south oriented Newtown Creek valley with the south-southeast oriented Neshaminy Creek valley to the west. The east end of the northern through valley is drained by an east-northeast oriented Newtown Creek segment while the west end is drained by a southwest valley draining to a south oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary. The southern through valley is drained by an east-northeast oriented Newtown Creek tributary and a west-southwest oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary. These through valleys suggest water moved in a west-southwest direction to the Neshaminy Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the south oriented Newtown Creek valley (and also prior to headward erosion of the much deeper Delaware River valley).

Nockamixon Township

In Revere area through valleys at an elevation of about 500 feet (about 100 feet deep) link south oriented Rapp Creek with northwest and north-northwest oriented tributaries to north oriented Gallows Run, which joins the Delaware as a barbed tributary. Rapp Creek flows to southeast and northeast oriented Tinicum Creek, which flows to the south oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary.

Northampton Township

Almshouse Road between Jacksonville and Richboro is located in a shallow northwest to southeast oriented through valley linking headwaters of a west and northwest oriented tributary to east oriented Neshaminy Creek with a southeast oriented tributary to south oriented Ironworks Creek, which flows to east-northeast oriented Mill Creek, which in turn flows to south, northeast, southeast, and south oriented Neshaminy Creek. This through valley suggests the Ironworks Creek valley and tributary valleys were eroding headward across southwest oriented flood flow prior to headward erosion of the deeper Neshaminy Creek valley.

Plumstead Township

A 100-foot plus deep through valley on northwest side of Plumstead Hill with a floor elevation of between 400-420 feet links a northeast oriented tributary to northeast oriented Gedies Creek with the southwest oriented North Branch Neshaminy Creek. Gedies Creek flows to the south oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary and this is valley used by the Point Pleasant pumped storage project to divert Delaware River to Neshaminy and Perkiomen Crees. The southwest oriented North Branch Neshaminy Creek joins east and south oriented Neshaminy at Chalfont as a barbed tributary.

A parallel through valley (elevation about 380 feet) on the southeast side of Plumstead Hill and also along the Plumstead-Buckingham Township line links a northeast oriented tributary to northeast oriented Paunnacussing Creek with southwest oriented Pine Run. Paunnacussing Creek flows to the southeast Delaware River as a barbed tributary while Pine Run flow to east and south oriented Neshaminy Creek as a barbed tributary. Plumstead Hill rises to 569 feet while isolated hills along the through valley southeast side rise to approximately 480 feet.

Richland Township

Quakertown is located in a topographic basin rimmed by diabase ridges and the basin floor forms a through valley linking south oriented Unami Creek on the west side of Quakertown with the Tohickon Creek drainage basin on the east side of Quakertown. Unami Creek flows to Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River while Tohickon Creek flows to the Delaware River. The Delaware-Schuykill drainage divide runs right through Quakertown at an elevation of about 500 feet on the relatively flat basin floor. Ridges surrounding the basin rise 100 or more feet and are crossed by water gaps where Unami and Tohickon Creek exit the basin to flow to two different major rivers.

Solebury Township

Between Aquetong and Five Points a through valley (floor elevation between 260-280 feet), which continues into Buckingham Township, links northeast oriented headwaters of northeast, south, and northeast oriented Aquetong Creek with a southwest and south oriented stream flowing to northeast, southeast and northeast oriented Pidcock Creek and also with a southwest oriented valley draining to southeast and south oriented Mill Creek, which flows to southeast and south oriented Neshaminy Creek. Buckingham and Solebury Mountains on south and southeast sides rise to more than 460 feet and isolated elevations on northwest side rise to more than 480 feet. Aquetong and Pidcock Creeks both join the south oriented Delaware River as barbed tributaries.

A 50-foot deep through valley links the upstream northeast oriented Aquetong Creek valley with an unnamed northeast oriented valley draining to the south oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary.

Springfield Township

Springfield Township includes areas of high hills on the diabase ridge on the northwest side of the Quakertown basin. The Lookout (elevation 911 feet) is the high point although just across the county line in Lehigh County is Flint Hill, which rises to 1000 feet and which is composed of a quartz fanglomerate. Cooks Creek originates between the Lookout and Flint Hill and flows in a southeast direction and is joined by south oriented tributaries and as it approaches the headwaters of a south-southwest oriented Tohickon Creek tributary it turns abruptly to flow in a north-northeast and north direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction across Durham Township to reach the south oriented Delaware Riveras a barbed tributary. The Cooks Creek-Tohickon Creek divide roughly follows the Springfield-Haycock Township boundary and varies in elevation from about 550 to 600 feet and in Haycock Township rises as Haycock Mountain (elevation 960+ feet) is approached. This divide extends for several miles across the north end of the Quakertown basin and is located along a narrow diabase ridge. Rocks on either side of that narrow diabase ridge are composed of the Brunswick Formation (shale, mudstone, and siltstone).

Between Buckwampum Hill (elevation 870 feet) and Cressman Hill (elevation 675 feet) a through valley (floor elevation 540-560 feet) links a northwest oriented Cooks Creek tributary with southeast and south oriented Haycock Creek. Cooks Creek flows to the south oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary and Tohickon Creek also flows to the south oriented Delaware River. Buckwampum Hill is composed of a fanglomerate and Creesman Hill is composed of diabase.

See west side of Haycock Mountain discussion under Haycock Township.

Tinicum Township

A through valley at Tinicum (elevation about 400 feet-50-60 feet deep) links an unnamed northeast oriented tributary to the south oriented Delaware River with a southwest and south oriented tributary to east and southeast oriented Tohickon Creek

A through valley west of Tinicum (elevation about 370 feet-50-60 feet deep) links a north oriented tributary to northeast oriented Tinicum Creek with a south oriented tributary valley to east and southeast oriented Tohickon Creek.

Upper Makefield Township

A 100-foot deep through valley (floor elevation about 200 feet) just south of Woodhill links a northeast and north oriented tributary to northeast oriented Jericho Creek with northwest oriented to northeast oriented Jericho Creek. Jericho Creek flows to the southeast oriented Delaware River as a barbed tributary.

Upper Southampton Township

A shallow east to west oriented through valley between Davisville and Southampton links a southwest oriented tributary to south and south-southwest oriented Southampton Creek (which flows to south oriented Pennypack Creek) with an east oriented tributary to southeast and east-northeast oriented Mill Creek, which flows to south, northeast, southeast, and south oriented Neshaminy Creek as a barbed tributary.

Warminster Township

A close look at the Neshaminy Creek-Pennypack Creek divide in the Rosewood Park area suggests the presence of a shallow north to south oriented through valley. A north oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary originates just north of Rosewood Park while south oriented Pennypack Creek headwaters originate in Rosewood Park. Elevations along the broad drainage divide range from 300 to 320 feet. Proceeding east or west along the drainage divide leads to elevations exceeding 350 feet. This shallow through valley suggests sheets of south oriented water flowed to the Pennypack Creek drainage basin prior to headward erosion of the deeper east oriented Little Neshaminy Creek valley.

Warrington Township

A broad northeast to southwest oriented through valley or saddle is found along the Neshaminy Creek-Little Neshaminy Creek drainage divide in Warrington Township. Divide elevations at the west end of the saddle rise to more than 500 feet and at the east end to approximately 400 feet. Low elevations on the saddle floor are less than 340 feet. This saddle provides evidence of sheet flow in a southwest direction to the Little Neshaminy Creek valley (and/or to valleys further to the southwest or south) prior to headward erosion of the east oriented Neshaminy Creek valley.

Warwick Township

The east-oriented Little Neshaminy Creek valley has a much steeper wall on the north than the south. The north wall rises 150 to 200 feet from the valley floor and forms a linear west to east oriented ridge, probably formed by a north dipping resistant bedrock layer of the Triassic Stockton Formation. Just north of that ridge is a shallow west to east oriented through valley drained as follows. The north side of that ridge east of highway 263 is drained by an east oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary while west of highway 263 it is drained by the northeast oriented headwaters of a north oriented Neshaminy Creek tributary. West of those headwaters a southwest and south oriented valley draining to east oriented Little Neshaminy Creek.

West Rockhill Township

West of Perkasie a through valley links northeast oriented Threemile Run with west, south, and southwest oriented Ridge Valley Creek. Threemile Run flows to Lake Nockamixon and northeast, southeast, east, and south-southeast oriented Tohickon Creek (and then to the southeast oriented Delaware River) while Ridge Valley Creek flows to Perkiomen Creek and the southeast oriented Schuylkill River.

A north to south oriented through valley cut across the diabase ridge and links the west oriented Butter Creek valley (north side) with the west and south and southwest oriented Ridge Valley Creek valley. Butter Creek flows to south and southwest oriented Unami Creek and Ridge Valley and Unami Creeks join to flow in a west direction to south oriented Perkiomen Creek.

Wrightstown Township

Mill Creek flows in a southeast and then south direction to join southeast oriented Neshaminy Creek, which in this region has entrenched meanders causing it to flow in southeast, north-northeast, south-southwest, north-northeast, and southeast directions. The south oriented Mill Creek segment is joined by southeast oriented Robin Run and two west-northwest oriented tributaries creating a pattern of opposing tributaries, which are linked to adjacent drainage basins by shallow through valleys defined by only one or two contour lines.

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