Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Rough Rock at Beaumont Park

The Rough Rock at Beaumont Park

During my visit to Kirkstall Abbey – in late December – I didn’t have the opportunity to see the Rough Rock in situ and I had to wait another 6 months until the weather improved, before I set out again on the buses and trains to see another part of West Yorkshire.

A view of Castle Hill
The town of Huddersfield, known worldwide for its fine quality woollen cloth, also possesses very high quality building stone, which was used to construct most of the old buildings in the town and surrounding villages. I know this stone well, where it has been used in many large urban landscaping projects that have transformed Sheffield city centre.

When planning my visit to Beaumont Park, I had intended to go all the way into Huddersfield on the train and then catch the bus; however, as the train stopped at Lockwood station, I noticed a sign on the platform that said that the park was nearby and so I got off the train; however, I found that the directions provided weren’t very clear and I had to ask a couple of ‘locals’ for the way.

The Lower Gate
I soon discovered that the directions given to me weren’t the very best and, after I had walked up a very long straight road on a steep hill, and had to go ‘all round the houses’, I finally arrived at my destination.

Although this long detour made the walk harder than was necessary, I got a good appreciation of the topography of the slab like section of the Rough Rock that outcrops around Crosland Moor – and which dips down to the River Holme.

Finally arriving at Beaumont Park, I was very impressed by what I saw - Huddersfield's first public park, with the Rough Rock hewn out of the hillside and used to build what must have once been such a spectacular place. 

General views at Beaumont Park
Although the ornate Lower Gates, which served as the main entrance to the park, are the only substantial stone structure remaining, there are grottoes, arcades and cascades, which have all been formed from the local rock. 

Along the length of the park, which is perched high on the side of the river valley, there are some good viewpoints where the local geomorphology and Huddersfield’s best known landmark – Castle Hill – can be clearly seen.

Old quarry exposures of the Rough Rock form a spectacular rocky backdrop to much of the park and, although many are overgrown, there is a good opportunity to see a range of sedimentary features: cross bedding, flaggy bedding, massive bedding and sections of fine fissile bedding. The whole slope has also been subject to soil creep and landslips, where the permeable sandstone overlies impermeable shale.

Exposures of the Rough Rock at Beaumont Park