Nature has created an incredible and beautiful variety of textures in the rocks of the earth. These rocks in turn shape the textures of the landscape and it’s feel. As we walk through the land we can experience the shifting emotions, of being within different textures of the earth. Our ancestors could feel this too, and were probably even more aware of the emotional textures of the landscape. They chose certain rock sites as having spiritual texture, and then enhanced what nature had already created. This stone channel is part of a huge complex of neolithic rock art at Lordenshaws in Northumberland. It is thought to be the longest hand cut rock channel in the UK, probably picked and deepened using deer antler tools. At the top of the rock are numerous hand cut cups about the size of my fist. The whole site is an intriguing mystery from thousands of years ago.
This incredible cauldron like cliff was cut by nature, and given a wonderful linear texture. The rocks make perfect perches for the thousands of seabirds who nest here every year. Man has exploited this textured cliff for millennia, probably enjoying the eggs of the seabirds. Neolithic flint arrowheads have been found on the cliff tops along with ancient defensive walls. However it’s defensive position and great sea views were enhanced fully when Dunstanburgh Castle was built on the cliff top. There is a great sense of safety as you gaze out from here across hundreds of miles of glittering ocean.
This beautiful rock face was carved and formed by the thrust of nature right across the centre of Northumberland. When the Romans arrived in Northern Britain they enhanced its defensive texture by adding Hadrian’s Wall along the top of its ridge. The wall flows and twists along the texture of the landscape, almost as though it sprang from the earth all by itself.
These ancient cup and ring rock carvings are my favourite textural enhancement added by our ancestors. Found all across Britain, there are places where they are very concentrated, and all of these places have a special feel. A sense of the eternal and of power, and all of them were hand cut. Marking sacred spaces and doorways between the worlds these stone patterns whisper of wishes and prayers, of ritual and mystery. They are still here for us to see today, deep in natures heart, often a little off the beaten track.