Shaping the Valley

The Landscape of the Washburn Valley

The northern limit of the watershed of the Washburn lies to the south of the road from Greenhow to Grassington, the surface geology being Carboniferous Limestone close to the road with the Millstone Grit Series beyond. The former is permeable and so the land is naturally well drained with few streams to be seen while the latter is generally impermeable so boggy ground can be expected and there are many surface streams.

Limestone soils are alkaline while Millstone Grit soils are naturally acid, conditions that are often identifiable by the different forms of vegetation, good grassland being the norm on Limestone while heather, bracken, rushes and coarse grasses are more typical of Millstone Grit which does not readily lend itself to arable or dairy farming. Generations of farmers have, however, improved their land by rock clearance, drainng and liming as can be seen by the many green fields in areas of Millstone Grit.

Maximum elevations are around 450 metres and being exposed to the weather. especially the west wind, rainfall is high at the top of the valley which, in general is narrow and steep sided. These conditions are very suitable for the construction of dams for water supply and in past centuries thay were exploited for water power on the Washburn and its tribuatary streams.

Coldstones Quarry is hidden away on the top of the largest hill in the area and its viewing platform which adjoins the Coldstone Cut art installation provides an excellent view, not only of the quarry but a wide panaorama of the surrounding area, including the Washburn Valley.

Geology and Landscape North of the A59

North West

North East


Coldstones Cut - Art installation and quarry viewing platform

Greenhow -


Boundary Stones

Fountains Abbey 15th C. & Knaresborough Forest 18th C.

Washburn Valley & Lords Seat

Brandrith Crags

Redshaw Gill (South)

Grouse Moor

Rocking Hall and its rocking stone

Burnt House

Redshaw Gill (North)

Blubberhouses CC & site of Westhouse Mill

Looking North


Palleys Crags

Cotton Grass and Heather

High Crag - Millstone Grit

North - near Greenhow