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Crow Stones, Upper Derwent Valley, Peak District National Park

Last year I walked one of my favourite routes in the Dark Peak. I followed a bed of Kinderscout Gritstone for several miles, using its vertical edges to cross the landscape.

Kinderscout gritstone is interspersed with layers of shale and mudstones. These can often be seen exposed in sharply incised cloughs, where a stream has cut through the edge of the gritstone bed and revealed its many layers. Going up or down a clough can literally take you through millions of years.

In places the gritstone is 150m thick and at Crow edge both the top and bottom edges of a gritstone layer can be seen. Kinderscout  gritstone tilts both south and east as it flows down the Upper Derwent Valley from Swains and form one half of the watershed. To the north and west gritstone mixes with the coal measures of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Bleaklow Stones, Barrow Stones, are good examples of gritstone left behind through erosion. Bleaklow Stones is a particularly good example, it is as if someone just walked away from a game of marbles. The Horse Stone is similar but has weathered differently showing a the wind sanding down the softer layers to leave a pancake stack effect. In places erosion has weathered the gritstone to form precariously balanced rocking stones, some of the best place to see this is on the tors and outcrops, Crow Stones is I think the best example.

Following a geological walk gives me a very different experience of the landscape and leads to areas well off the beaten path which often reward with wonderful surprises.