The geology of Rosedale stretches from the Staithes Sandstone Formation in the bottom of the dale aged about 190 Million years to the Moor Grit Member on the top of the moors about 170 Million years old.
Of particular interest in Rosedale are the rocks of the Blea Wyke Sandstone Formation aged about 180 Million years. What makes these rocks so interesting is that they are unique and the iron content of these magnetic ironstones was one of the richest in the world. The standard rocks of this age, found at Ravenscar on the coast, are nothing like the rocks of equivalent age we find in Rosedale. Research into these peculiar rocks has been carried out since early Victorian times, inspired by the iron rush of the industrial revolution and continues right up to the present day with the Vales & Dales project of your local Geology Trust.
It would be nice to say that after more than a 100 years of study, we understand these rocks well. Unfortunately, the science of geology is not simple nor straightforward. Much of the evidence held within the rock exposures that are left in Rosedale has suffered more than a century of weathering and as we know, iron loves nothing more than to rust and dissolve under our sunny climate!
As the work of the North East Yorkshire Geology Trust continues in Rosedale we would be most grateful of anyone informing us of fresh rock exposures and fossil finds. We are especially keen to find good quality Ammonites so that we can date the rocks more accurately.
Over the next year, we will be taking guided walks of the fascinating local geology to explain and share this wonderful earth heritage with local people and visitors alike.
Rosedale’s ironstone history has left some of the best examples of this kind of industrial archaeology like the calcining kilns and it is very important to remember that geology, not only controls our local landscapes but often our local history.