Geology heritage walk in Crummackdale

4 September 2011
Leader - Michael Southworth
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

For once, this year the weather improved as the day wore on, so the pull up the Townhead hill from Austwick proved rather warming. We headed for the Norber erratics and on the way the story of Robin Proctor’s Scar was retold for the several new members present on the walk. The erratics were admired and discussed before we visited the nearby Nappa Scar on one of the Craven fault lines. The downthrow of several meters shows the layer of greywacke/slate (Silurian period) lying beneath a narrow bed of conglomerate, which in turn lies below the limestone (Carboniferous period). There is a discontinuity in these geological layers since the rocks laid down between the greywacke and the limestone are missing. These missing rocks are represented in other parts of the country by the Devonian period, which lasted about 100 million years.

We proceeded north on a gentle track via several ancient cairns to the large cairn at the top of Long Scar, on the old trackway which was the Lancaster to Newcastle coach road. There are good views across to Studrigg Scar and its well-exposed different layers of rock. Near the cairn there are remains of a ruined building, perhaps a medieval shelter for summer occupation by shepherds. The path goes east and downhill to Crummack Farm and we made a diversion to Austwick Beck Head with permission of the farmer, since it is his water supply and private land. The water gushes out below the limestone and some is piped to the farm, while the rest forms the beck.

The lane was followed southwards and we turned off east to see the Wash Dubs and clapper bridges where sheep were washed in times gone by. The loss of wool weight (and loss of revenue) by washing seems to have brought a halt to the business. The lane continues to Wharfe where we turned for home. The site of the medieval corn mill which changed to a cotton mill (1790s) then a silk mill (1816) was pointed out on the way.

This is a delightful walk enjoyed by a large party and a happy dog, much to be recommended.

Norber erratics

Norber erratics