The Best of Brimham

Brimham Rocks Autumn landscape

From rocks to moorland, Brimham features a whole host of different of features for visitors. Here’s a guide for what not to miss on your first, second or one thousandth visit.

If you’re new to Brimham and or you’re short on time, we’ve put together a few highlights to get you started. The numbers match up with our property map.

Brimham bonus: Check out area behind Brimham House. It’s often missed by visitors and some of the best rocks can be found there.

 

Smartie Tube (5)

Many holes, tubes and tunnels can be seen in the rocks but the Smartie Tube is the most famous at Brimham. There are several ideas about how they formed. One theory is that ancient trees, such as giant ferns died and fell over. The trunks were then surrounded by sediment that later turned to rock. The trunks then rotted away, leaving the holes.

The Smartie Tube
Brimham Rocks Smartie Tube
The Smartie Tube

Eagle (8)


Prominently seen from in front of Brimham House, the Eagle again shows how some of the rocks appear to be performing a balancing act. One theory for the split in these rocks is a ripple effect caused when the continents of Africa and Europe first collided several million years ago. It’s also an example of how the names of the rocks can be only understood when looking at the from certain places. In the photo one can see where the name came from, an eagle’s head perhaps, but move to a different viewpoint and the name may well baffle you.

Eagle Rock
Brimham Rocks Eagle
Eagle Rock

Dancing Bear (11)


This shows a good example of bedding planes. Look carefully at any of the rocks and you can sometimes see layers that make up their structure. These were formed from the changing course of a river that originally laid down the sands that the rocks are made from millions of years ago. The name is one that divides people; some can definitely see a dancing bear, others are left looking rather bewildered.

The Dancing Bear
Dancing Bear 2
The Dancing Bear

Druid’s Writing Desk (12)


The bizarre shape here is quite possibly explained by the same erosive forces that formed the Idol. Whatever the explanation, it’s well worth a visit due to its outstanding location view beautiful views looking out over Nidderdale. The name likely dates back to Victorian times as some from the time believed that the druids had created the rocks.

Druid's Writing Desk
Druid's Writing Desk at Brimham Rocks
Druid's Writing Desk

Idol (13)


The is probably our most famous rock. Looking at the pedestal of the Idol you can see the natural erosion of the softer rock beneath the balancing harder stone. Although it appears as several rocks it is in fact all one structure. Heavy grains of sand and ice would have been sand blasted during high winds, causing more erosion closer to the ground. Will it fall over? Yes but not any time soon as the structure is more stable than it appears to be.

The Idol
Brimham Rocks The Idol
The Idol

Mushroom rock (18)


Another rock formation that possibly is a result as the same forces responsible for the Idol and Druid’s Writing Desk, Mushroom rock is one of our outliers being separated from the greater concentration of rocks. However it’s well worth the walk out there as in doing so you visit the stunning moorland and once you arrive the views provide a great place for quiet contemplation. 

Mushroom rock
Brimham Rocks Mushroom Rock
Mushroom rock

Heather moorland (purple area)

Although the titular rocks are the reason many visit us Brimham Rocks features a beautiful area of heather moorland. Certainly a quieter area of the site, several of the walks and paths run through the area providing you with peaceful walks and a chance to see the unique fauna and flora that make up this protected habitat.

Heather moorland at Brimham Rocks
Sunset over heather moorland at Brimham Rocks
Heather moorland at Brimham Rocks

Visitor centre (10)

This is essentially Brimham House, a late 18th century building constructed for ‘the accommodation of strangers’. Today it houses our shop and above it our exhibition. Currently the exhibition features a photographic exhibition about social and geological history of Brimham along with a short video that also covers how the ranger team manages the moorland.

Brimham House
Brimham House 2
Brimham House