Today we have been working at Cliff Rigg Quarry, a rough and rugged crack in the landscape overlooked by Roseberry Topping in North Yorkshire.
The quarry is part of the Cleveland Dyke, a wall-like sheet of igneous rock which was formed about 59 million years ago by hot, molten rock (magma) being injected through the sedimentary strata. The magma cooled quickly to give a hard, dense, dark ‘whinstone’ rock.
The whinstone at Cliff Rigg was both quarried and mined and was used mostly as roadstone and, in particular, for setts, oblong blocks that were popular for street paving and can often still be seen in many towns and villages.
Part of Cliff Rigg Quarry is now designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) due to the ability to examine the dyke and also to see some of the Lower Jurassic succession of mudstones, sandstones and ironstone.
It is for this reason that the team was here today, as part of the site has been covered by tree growth over the years blocking this geology. We spent most of the day taking out trees to improve views of the rock face…