The British Landscape Club

Beautiful geology


On the face of it, slate is not an inspiring material. Roofs built from it cover concentric rings of brick-built Victorian suburbs around most of our larger cities while the holes in the ground that were left behind are - I would venture - only really at their most thrilling when you are unfortunate enough to be plummeting to a brutal and untidy death at the foot of one.

But look at these pictures of not just any-old slate but, rather, some fairly poor-quality slate (in terms of building materials, that is) on the coast of South Devon. This particular outcrop has probably been attacked by waves twice daily for thousands of years and has started to acquire something of a liquid texture as if mimicking its tormentor.


When viewed from a distance, the cliffs formed from this poor slate, which has a lustrous glaze about it when you find one of its pebbles on the beach, gleam in low sunshine like a washing line in a detergent advertisement. And this is all just a rather poor-quality Devonian slate.
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