Explore the Bridestones, Crosscliff & Blakey Topping
From famous stones to wildlife and a variety of landscapes, there's something for everyone to discover at the Bridestones, Crosscliff and Blakey Topping.
The famous stones
Aptly named ‘Brink-stones’ or edge stones in Old Norse, you can follow footpaths to the top to experience the Bridestones first hand. These fascinating rocks are the remains of a sandstone ‘cap’ that was originally much higher, Jurassic sedimentary rock deposited some 150 million years ago.
Layers of hard sandstone alternating with softer calcareous layers have been eroded by wind, frost and rain over thousands of years. The result is the strange and wonderful shapes left today. They make the perfect place to picnic or to sit and absorb panoramic views.
Woodland, moorland and meadows
The surrounding nature reserve is a high, wild and inspiring blend of open heather, rough pasture, wooded hillsides and stunning summer-flower filled grassy dales. It is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), so sensitive management is very important. On the open moor new tree growth is controlled and you might see cattle which are grazed to stop the land returning to the woodland it once was.
Bridestones Griff separates the two groups of stones, leading to the grassy valley of Dovedale and its ancient woodland. It’s the perfect place to enjoy wildflowers, butterflies and birds at the edge of a rippling beck.
Spread over 300 acres, Bridestones nature reserve is home to many animal and plant species. The moor is not burnt to create habitat for grouse shooting or sheep farming which means mosses, lichens and invertebrates thrive. You will notice a lot of common heather (ling), what other plants can you spot?
Sundew survives on this poor soil by capturing and digesting insects on its sticky leaves. Keep an eye out for adders basking in the early morning sun. On Blakey Topping you might be lucky enough to spot the white flowers of the rare dwarf cornel. A low growing plant, it is usually confined to northern mountains and is extremely uncommon south of the Scottish Highlands.