The spectacular rocks of Haltwhistle Burn Gorge were laid down about 300 million
years ago at a time when the land which was to become Northumberland was close to
the equator. During this period, which is now called the Carboniferous, the land
was by turns covered by shallow tropical seas, vast braided rivers and forested swamps.
Each of these environments left behind deposits which, through the passage of time,
The Rocks of Haltwhistle Burn
Find out about more about the Geology of Northumberland here
A Walk through Time
10 million Years of Earth’s History,
300 Years of man’s Ingenuity
Discover how the rocks of the Burn Gorge have been used by the people of the town
over the years. Download a walk leaflet PDFhere
Get the whole story from Northumberland National Park
Download Northumberland National Park’s Geodiversity Audit and Action Plan here
Discover the rocks of Haltwhistle Burn. Follow this detailed Geo-trail
Above: Mud-stone and shale from the muddy soils of the forest and coal from the
remains of the vegetation.
Above: The Haltwhistle Burn gouges a channel through this layer-cake of rocks revealing
of the story of the land 300 million years ago.
In places the detail the rocks show are truly amazing - each season of sand deposit,
the different grain sizes and colours, clearly visible on the rock face.
Left: Here the grandeur of the cliff faces engenders a sense of wonder - it’s not
just dramatic and beautiful but astounding when you realise that every single, tiny
grain of sand which makes up the towering cliff face was once part of a mountain,
far away, weathered out and carried away by vast rivers, only to be deposited in
a sand bank , compacted, transmogrified into sandstone and now ready to be washed
away by another river to another shore.