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Geology

Coal

Clay

Limestone

Clay is commonly found along with coal. The clay extracted from the mines at Haltwhistle provided the raw material for a thriving brick and pipe industry from the 1840s through to the 1960s.

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The production of coal was of huge economic significance to the area.  Extraction was already well established by the 1600s and became the life-blood of the town in the early 20th century. There were three periods of production along the Burn all of which have left traces.and all of which have fascinating stories.

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The production of coal also supported the local iron smelting works and a local gas industry

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From 1842 onwards the extraction and burning of lime was on a commercial footing run by the South Tyne Coal and Lime company. Two kilns from this period can be seen on the east bank although only the back walls of the pots remain. The external structure has been dismantled. Find out more about early lime kilns and how they worked here

Another valuable commodity extracted from the rocks of the burn was lime.

 

Originally limestone was burnt in the kilns on the west bank for spreading on the acidic fields of the surrounding farms. This kiln has a single pot and three entrances to rake out the burnt lime.

 

Haltwhistle Presbyterian Church under construction by Watson’s Stone Masons

Sandstone from the Burn Gorge has been quarried for building material for hundreds of years and  the remains of quarries from different dates can be found  up and down the burn on both banks. The Lees Hall Quarry on the west bank is the largest of these. Drill marks from the blasting can be seen in the rock face and  huge blocks of stone can be found lying where they were left on the last day of production. Many of the fine stone buildings of Haltwhistle are built of this stone, most notably the immense stone step of the Church Hall which was probably the largest block to be removed from the quarry in one piece!

 

Sandstone

Using the Rock