In the beginning

Long before humans appeared on earth, the foundations were being laid for Rossendale’s quarrying industry. Stone was already playing its part in shaping the landscape in which we now live. In this section we look at how Rossendale’s rocks were formed, the part they played in shaping our hills and valleys and how these events millions of years ago led to Rossendale’s quarrying heritage.

How Rossendale’s rocks were formed

Alternating silts and sands at Thurns Head QuarryThe rocks that lie underneath the valleys and hills of Rossendale were formed millions of years ago when the whole of what is now the North of England was a huge river delta. Sand and mud settled to the bottom of the slow moving water and built up until it was hundreds of metres thick. In this section we examine how this became the “sedimentary” rocks we know today.

Rock strata and Haslingden Flag

Lee QuarryNot all of the rock is the same. Over the years conditions changed leaving different layers in the sediment. Each layer turned into a different type of rock. One of these rocks, found only in Rossendale, is known as Haslingden Flag. In this section we look at what it was about this stone that made it so attractive and why demand for this stone led to many of Rossendale’s hills being torn apart by large scale quarrying.

How rocks shaped Rossendale's hills

Holcombe Hill form FecitAs millions of years passed, the rock layers gradually rose out of the water and were eroded by wind, rain and ice. Millions of years of weathering and the affects of the ice age created the hills and valleys we know today. In this section we see how the shapes in the Rossendale landscape stem from the rocks which lie beneath them and why this determined where quarries were located.

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