The geological strata of the area belong to the Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) age Coal Measures. The beds are typical of the period consisting of a repeated succession of sandstones, mudstones, shales, seat-earths (Fireclays/ Ganisters) and coals. The major sandstones which locally include Crawshaw Sandstone, Greenmoor Rock, Grenoside Sandstone and Silkstone Sandstone form the higher parts of the ground. The Penistone Flags describes the other rocks. These are a complex sequence of several beds of fine grained, flaggy sandstones separated by mudrocks with deposits of thin coals and seat-earths interleaved within these.
Most of the geological strata have been worked by humans over the centuries to get a variety of products including building stone, mineral coal, ironstone and ganister. As a result of this exploitation, the topography of the landscape has been altered. Hollows and spoil heaps have been created; drainage patterns have changed; and buildings, tramways and adits constructed and (now) abandoned.
Effects on Local Woodland
There are both direct and indirect effects. Geology influences the soil and topography which may favour woodlands and make it less likely for the area to be used for other purposes on a long-term basis. Evidence of former mining and quarrying sites can be found in many local woodlands. These woodlands may have grown up through natural regeneration after the mining stopped. See ‘Pits & Platforms’ and ‘Banks & Ditches’ for more information.
Indirectly, the mineral industries needed a good supply of wood and timber for their operations. Local ‘coppice with standard’ woodlands were well-placed to provide the industrial market with the pitprops, rails, ladders, scaffolding, containers etc. which were needed. Old coppice stools and other modified trees may be evidence of this past industrial use.