25 miles away from Skipton, past Pateley Bridge.
Large area of strange rock formations, huge millstone grit boulders
that have naturally eroded into freaky shapes. Site owned and run by the
In the beginning ...
About 320 million years ago, a huge river washed down grit and sand from
granite mountains in northern Scotland and Norway.
A delta formed, covering half of all Yorkshire. Layer upon layer of grit
and sand, along with rock crystals of quartz and feldspar, built up, to
form the tough sandstone known as Millstone Grit. This is the
exposed sections of which can be seen today at Brimham Rocks.
A feature of the rocks is their cross-bedding. As the water from the river
flowed, it created forms such as ripples or dunes on the floor of the
channel. Sediment was deposited on the down current side of these bed
forms at an angle and not horizontally. The layering is inclined and dips
in the direction that the water was moving.
Most of the rocks owe their strange shapes to erosion during and after the
Devensian glaciation, the last glacial period (or Ice Age) of the
Pleistocene in Britain, between about 80,000 years
ago and 10,000 years ago. For example, Idol Rock was most likely
formed just after the last glaciation when the land lacked any plant
cover. Here, sand-blasting at ground level wore away the softer layers of
the rock producing a tiny plinth with a massive top. Freeze-thaw action on
the joints and bedding planes have shaped many of the tors such as the
Brimham Rocks are 4 miles east of Pateley Bridge off the B6265, 10 miles
north west of Harrogate off the B6165, and 10 miles south east of Ripon.
It is open all year: From 8am till dusk. Facilities may close in bad
Pay-and-display car park £2.50 up to 4 hrs, £3.50 over 4 hrs; motorcycles
free; minibus £6 all day; coach £12 all day (NT members free); members’
season ticket available from property to display in car
A Shop with an exhibition room, opens 16 March, April, May and Oct: Sat &
Sun, BHs and local school hols. 11–5; 25 May, June to Sept: daily 11–5;
Nov & Dec: Sun, 26 Dec & 1 Jan: weather permitting; Feb 2003: local school
There are some hard surfaced paths giving access among the rock
formations; wheelchair access to most areas, but WC. and Shop: access is
A Braille guide and large-print guide are available.
Light refreshments, at the shop
Dogs should be under strict control at all times and on lead during April,
May & June (ground-nesting birds)
Bus: Keighley & District 802 Bradford–Leyburn (Sun, June–Oct only);
otherwise Harrogate & District 24 Harrogate–Pateley Bridge, alight
For more information, see the National Trust website. Details:
Tel: 01423 780688
Fax: 01423 781020
There's a useful site by Daelnet (with photos, geology, location) at:
The National Trust Brimham Rocks page is at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/placestovisit/
Search the photo