Fantastic rock formations all around

The landscape of Northumberland National Park is appreciated by millions of people every year. It is here for all to enjoy, but have you ever stopped to think how the landscape came to be so special? Why does the landscape of Hadrian’s Wall look so different to the Cheviots and Simonside?

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 and information, take a look at our Geodiversity Audit and Geodiversity Action Plan.