rock patterns

I’ve touched on the geology of this region before, but not on this blog. So it is about time I took more interest in the rocks around this land. Sadly a lot of the coastal areas are eroding and cliff-falls are very much the norm so you are advised not to walk too close to the edge of a cliff nor to linger too close to the cliff base in case a few tons of earth land on your head. I say sadly because there are some interesting formations and hidden caves that beckon me and my camera for a closer look.

Helter skelter stack

A few days ago I was on Gwithian beach, this time we parked at the Gwithian car park and wandered down onto the vast expanse of sand that is exposed at low tide. To the left of the steps is a dog walking area, to the right is where we usually go with the grandkids for body boarding and swimming.

From the British Geological Survey website I discovered this about the region’s geology

1:625 000 scale bedrock geology description: Middle Devonian (undifferentiated) – Mudstone, Siltstone And Sandstone. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 385 to 398 million years ago in the Devonian Period. Local environment previously dominated by rivers and alluvial fans.

Setting: rivers and alluvial fans. These rocks were formed from rivers depositing mainly sand and gravel detrital material, with alluvial fans at a change in slope, for example, where fast torrents in steep narrow canyons flowed out on to a plain and deposited fan-shaped spreads; in semi arid areas these may join up to form a bajada.

This time we headed left to explore the stacks and rock pools left behind. From my own discoveries this is what I found:

Swirls and stripes around the entrance to a sea cave.

Mosaics on the cliff wall:

Nature’s artwork:

Sea monster
Abstracts in nature

You will see typical sedimentary rocks such as mudstone and sandstone in which the original sedimentary layers or beds have been crumpled and deformed by folding into complex patterns by the energy of the colliding continents.

Layers that look like bone or teeth:

Rough and smooth sections side by side:

Chunks of granite and smooth sea-worn rocks.

And odd upper cliff layers that look like roots of fossilised plants and trees.



  1. Anabel Marsh says:

    So interesting. I did a short course on geology once. I’ve forgotten most of what I learned but I still love looking at rocks. These are great pictures.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Anabel. I do like to see the different patterns formed in the rocks, and so many colours too down here. I think my favourite rocks have to be from the Canyons tour I did several years ago though. They truly took my breath away.

  2. 76sanfermo says:

    Amazing rocks and those mosaics are awesome ! Love this share, thanks so much!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you. I loved the mosaic bits too.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Do you find any actual fossils as your cliffs erode?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Not here, I think Dorset and possibly north Yorkshire are the best places for fossils.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Thanks. I had no clue.

  4. Wow, what a great playground. You mention a car park, so I assume the public at large is aware of this wonderful geology. Have you ever seen other people photographing the rocks? I’d be out there for hours.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Normally no, but on this day another photographer followed me behind one if the stacks to see what I was taking pictures of. He got quite excited about the swirls 😃

      1. Then you’ll just have to go out there more often to turn other photographers on to the geological delights they’ve been missing. Maybe you can get the local tourism council to subsidize you.

  5. By the way, it was good to be reminded of the even more colorful rocks you showed in that post from 2015. In looking at it for the second time now I again thought about New Zealand, this time based on my 2017 visit rather than the 2015 one I originally commented on.

  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I also thought of Meg as soon as i saw this, seventh heaven for her! Me, I don’t do the science but I do love the swirls and the sea monster.

  7. Chillbrook says:

    Smashing images Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Adrian.

  8. Did you find any fossilised animals embedded in the rock?

  9. equinoxio21 says:

    Million years’ history in but a few folds…
    Thank you

    1. Heyjude says:

      It’s quite something to think of all those years that went into such folds.

      1. equinoxio21 says:

        It is. Billions of years… Dinosaurs went by and away… Quite daunting actually. 😉

        1. Heyjude says:

          Yes. We are really just minor blips on the landscape.

        2. equinoxio21 says:

          And yet, a few photons got caught on a glass plate around 1860, and I have a photograph of my great-grandmother as a child… She WAS there… 🙂

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