Back to Top

Fantastic rock formations all around


The landscape of Northumberland is undeniably beautiful. The Whin Sill in particular is an imposing escarpment that gave shape to Hadrian’s Wall itself. But have you ever wondered what lies below your feet?

The underlying rocks and soils give the form and character of our amazing landscape. Volcanoes and glaciers from millions of years ago have shaped what we see today.

Geological timescales

Shaped over millennia, it’s hard to imagine how old these formations are. But if the earth’s history was scaled down to a single day:

  • 9.45pm: the oldest rocks in the National Park start to form
  • 10.10 – 10.30pm: the Carboniferous limestone and sandstone which make up most of the central and southern parts are laid down
  • 11.59pm: the Quaternary Ice Ages begin
  • Less than one second to midnight: Man first walks in Northumberland.

Positive actions for geology

Geodiversity means the variety of rocks, fossils, minerals, natural processes, landforms and soils that underlie our landscape and environment.

Geological formations provide the raw materials and resources for our water supply, industrial minerals and building materials. It influences wildlife species and habitats. Everything from economic development to historical and cultural heritage is affected by geology.

We take geodiversity into account during planning and development process. We work with developers to protect and enhance geodiversity. For example new cuttings for road improvements may expose geology never seen before.

For more details, take a look at our Geodiversity Audit and Action Plan.

Connect with Northumberland National Park


Planning in the National Park

Northumberland National Park Authority is the statutory Planning Authority for the area of the Northumberland National Park. View our planning pages here.