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This website was originally developed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as part of the Stories in Stone project. This was an ambitious four-year programme of conservation and community projects managed by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust concentrating on the stunning limestone landscape around the peak of Ingleborough in the south west corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The scheme was developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership and was mainly funded by the players of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Stories in Stone ran from January 2016 to the end of 2019.

In 2022 the website was extended with the addition of a section about the geology of the Westmorland Dales in the north-west of the national park. This was as part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme. The scheme aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Again this work was mainly funded by players of the National Lottery through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Swaledale section of this website was added in 2022 through Tees Swale: naturally connected. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this initiative collaborates with farmers and landowners across 845 km2 to put farming at the heart of nature and nature at the heart of land management. Tees Swale: naturally connected aims to interpret the natural and cultural heritage of the area so that it can be better identified and understood by visitors.

 If you have any issues with accessibility on this website you can contact us. All details for this are within the Yorkshire Dales National Parks Authority website accessibility statement here.

The geology of the Yorkshire Dales makes a fascinating study. The underlying rocks exert a strong influence over the scenery of the national park. Consider the stark limestone pavements and scars, the stepped valley sides, and the heather-clad moorlands: all owe their characteristics principally to the geology.

Studying geology is also of great importance. It helps us understand how the landscapes of today developed and also what the world was like millions of years ago and what forms of life existed at that time. Through geological knowledge we can turn natural resources around us to our advantage. The search for oil, coal, minerals and building stone has been greatly aided by it.

Today’s geological information has been built up over centuries. In the picturesque village of Dent stands a rough-hewn granite memorial to a famous Dalesman, Adam Sedgewick. Born in 1785, he became one of the first professors of geology at Cambridge University and made the geology of the north-west of the Dales a special interest.

However, even before Sedgwick was born, the early lead miners were beginning to understand the sequence of bedded rocks that contained the lead veins. They named several of the rock formations…The earliest comprehensive study of Dales geology was by John Phillips, the nephew of William Smith who is known as the ‘father of English geology’. Many others have followed in their footsteps and built up a detailed picture of the local rocks. These include geologists from the British Geological Survey on whose work the geological maps of the area are based.

From ‘Geology of the Yorkshire Dales National Park’ by Albert Wilson.

This booklet and several other publications on the geology of the area are available from our online shop and at our National Park Centres.


Geological map of the Yorkshire Dales before the 2016 extension