The Cleveland Dyke

A view north-west from Cliff Ridge along Langbaurgh Ridge and the line of the intrusion of igneous rock known as the Cleveland Dyke. The basaltic rock was intruded as molten magma flowed from a volcanic source near the Island of Mull in Scotland 58 million years ago. It is calculated the flow took up to five days to reach Cleveland.

The rock, commonly called whinstone, is extremely hard and wherever it outcrops it has been extensively quarried and used for roadstone. So we can find quarries at Dumfries, Armathwaite near Carlisle, Cockfield Fell and Bolam in County Durham, Preston Park near Yarm and here at Great Ayton where the intrusion is 15 metres thick.

Heading south-east across the North York Moors, there are further quarried outcrops at Kildale, Castleton, Lealholm, Glaisdale, Egton Bridge, Sil Howe east of the Murk Esk valley and finally on Blea Hill Rigg on Fylingdales Moor.

Something that I had not appreciated before is that pre-historic pottery found in archaeological excavations on the Moors has been found to contain crushed whinstone. An awareness by our ancient ancestors of the hardness of this rock.

5 Replies to “The Cleveland Dyke”

  1. I’m interested in researching the dyke as it crosses the Yorkshire moors from Great Aston to the sea . I wondered if you have any more information about the outcrops and the route ? Many thanks – tim Coates

    1. I haven’t come across a comprehensive guide to the Cleveland Dyke on the North York Moors. The Wikipedia page is a bit light (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Dyke). Local history guides of each dales often give info. on individual quarries. To see the route of the dyke, draw a straight line between Cliff Rigg, NZ 56897 11813, and York Cross Rigg, NZ 87731 01582. Any quarry marked on this line will probably be a whinstone quarry.

  2. Thank you – I’ve noticed some interesting points at which it crosses other features on the moor. So if anyone has any information: archaeological, geological, geographical or historical – I’d be very keen to hear! with kind regards– tim

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