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Exploring Howick's Geodiversity

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Howick to Cullernose Dr Ian Kille

The Northumberland Coast AONB season of Geodiversity walks continues with a walk on Thursday August 8th starting at 2pm entitled “Storm and Stress”. These walks are led by local geologist Dr Ian Kille and give an opportunity to explore the fascinating stories that the rocks exposed on the coastline tell of our deep past as well as how they have shaped the area’s history.

This fourth geodiversity walk will be from the parking area next to Seahouses Farm, about half a mile east along the coast road from Howick Hall, and will explore the immense scale and occasional violence of the geological activity recorded in the rocks along the coast here. 

The cliff scenery between Rumbling Kern and Cullernose Point is dramatic and beautiful and it is not surprising that the film crew for Robson Green’s “More Tales from Northumberland” were easily persuaded to include an item on the geology here. The cliffs and rocky skerrs provide excellent exposures of the rocks, laying the geology bare, and showing that the drama is not just confined to the high cliffs and the rumbling waves. Exposed on this walk is evidence from each of the major geological eras which have influenced the pre-historic development of this coast, from the 340-million-year-old Carboniferous sedimentary cycles through the blast-furnace intrusion of the Whin Sill to the icy layer of glacial refuse draping the landscape.

As Ian commented “these rocks give a clear sense, when given the enormity of time involved in our geologic past, that the slow accumulation of sediment and the imperceptible movement of our continents around the surface of our planet can not only move mountains but create them too. At Howick, as well as exploring the different rock types and what they tell us, we can explore the natural cycles of climate change and experience the huge forces involved when continental crust is stretched to breaking point. This is one of the most exciting parts of the Northumberland Coast AONB showing nature of the dynamic earth we live on”. 

The walk starts at 2pm on Thursday 8th August at the parking area by Seahouses Farm about ½ mile along the road towards the coast from the entrance to Howick Hall. This walk will be approximately 5 km and will involve some significant scrambling across slippery beach rocks, so good footwear, appropriate clothing and a basic level of fitness is required. Walking poles may be helpful for scrambling on rocks.

Details of this walk can be found on the Northumbrian Earth website  along with all of the other geo-walks being run by Northumbrian Earth in conjunction with the Northumberland Coast AONB. 

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Dr Ian Kille, who is leading the geodiversity walk at Howick on 8th August