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Mineral mini-breaks on offer in the North Pennines

Source: Source: North Pennines AONB Geopark Published:May 21,2009

Dr Clarke explains how to interpret the landscape of the North Pennines

Anyone who has ever wondered how the spectacular hills and valleys of the North Pennines were formed can be completely immersed in all things rocky at two residential weekends taking place as part of Northern Rocks, the North Pennines festival of geology and landscape - running between 23 May and 7 June 09.

Magnificent Minerals

At YHA Dufton in Cumbria, Magnificent Minerals runs for three days from Thursday 28 until Saturday 30 May. There will be slide shows on Thursday and Friday evenings and a trip down Kirkby Thore gypsum mine on Friday. Then the group will head for the fells on Saturday to discover minerals and explore Silver Band Mine. Visitors can either choose from a whole range of events or stay the whole weekend. For further details of events, costs, booking places and accommodation contact YHA Dufton on 0870 7705800 or email

Reading the Landscape

Another residential event is Reading the Landscape, from Friday May 29 until Sunday May 31 at Ninebanks YHA in Northumberland. Here, expert geologist Dr Stu Clarke of Keele University explains how to interpret the landscape of the North Pennines; from tropical seas to freezing ice, this story was millions of years in the making. Places on this residential event must be booked in advance by contacting YHA Ninebanks on 01434 345288 or email

Rock and Fossil Foray

And for the younger ones over the same weekend, there's a Rock and Fossil Foray at Harehope Quarry on Sunday 31 May from 1.30 - 3.30pm where children can discover rocks and fossils, make their own fossils out of Plaster of Paris and dig for them in the 'Georium'. Places costing £2 per child need to be booked in advance by contacting Harehope Quarry on 01388 528599/528633 or emailing

60 events

The residential weekends and the children's Rock and Fossil Foray are just three of more than 60 events taking place during the Northern Rocks Festival taking place from 23 May -7 June and throughout 2009 as part of the North Pennines AONB Events Programme, which appears in the North Pennines Pocket Guide 2009/10.

Many of the events are free of charge, with some events completely new this year, including children's workshops, pony trekking, landscape painting and taster sessions in caving.

The Pocket Guide - and the Northern Rocks Festival programme - are available by calling the AONB Partnership on 01388 528801/