Cliff Rigg Quarry

Former whinstone quarry that dominates the modest Cliff Ridge overlooking the village of Great Ayton. The whinstone seam is part of the Cleveland Dyke, a protrusion of very hard volcanic rock cutting through the surrounding soft sedimentary rocks. It was formed 58 million years ago from a volcano near the Isle of Mull and can be traced between there and Whitby. Wherever it outcropped it was quarried and used principally for paving setts and road making. The quarries at Cliff Rigg were extensive. Typically, a narrow strip of the stone called a plug was left as shoring to stop the softer shales from collapsing. Here a column of the plug remains. The quarry was operated by Messrs. Winn with the whinstone used to cobble the streets of Leeds. It closed around 1918 but in the 1970s, further extraction took place with the stone being crushed for road surfacing.
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