Preliminary Geology Report
North Northumberland, like most of Northumberland is underlain by sedimentary deposits of Carboniferous age, punctuated by occasional igneous intrusions of varying chemistry.
The Carboniferous period lasted from 362MA to 296MA. The deposits which underly our region were lain down by a delta far to the North East of us. The differing beds of rock today show that the waters carrying the deposits cyclicly changed, whether by direction or by speed. This is how we now have cycles of sandstone, limestone, silts, shales, clays and coals deposited. These cycles are most easily witnessed at Cocklawburn beach where there are several repeating cycles of these beds. It is the limestone which provides for most of the thickness of beds locally and presumably this is why the area we live in became important for the production of lime for agriculture.
There are a number of abandoned limestone quarries nearby with associated limekilns still in evidence. The best preserved is the Dryburn limekiln. Some quarries have been allowed to go back to grass, at least one used as landfill and some became ponds naturally. One of these, (one of the Eelwell limestone quarries) was used for years for the Lowick canoe regatta as it provided good deep water and also a long thin stretch for racing.
One other major rock formation locally is the Great Whin Sill which was emplaced around 290 million years ago during the Permian period. It was quarried in several places, but most local to us is the Kyloe quartz dolerite quarry. This quarry provided roadstone for the highways infrastructure, but is no longer operational. Belford is now the closest working quarry providing this so-called Whinstone.
Ritchie Blake
May 2021


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