Quarries

Rock is rarely far below the surface in the Cheviots – and is sometimes actually on it. This means the hills are littered with quarries.

Sometimes the extracted stone was put to obvious use, like the construction of a nearby house or an adjacent wall. Quarries were dug by the Romans to extract material for their roads and examples of these can be seen all along Dere Street. This type of work lasted for almost two thousand years: stone-breaking was a common occupation recorded in nineteenth-century censuses and as late as the 1920s there were gangs on the Otterburn ranges, extracting stone for the roads on the War Office’s new land.

Elsewhere the use of stone may be less obvious; old field boundaries, for example, usually look as if they consist of earthen banks, but investigation often reveals a stone core put there for strength or as the footings for an ancient wall. Similarly, in many cases the ramparts of Iron Age camps, now grass-covered, would originally have had a stone facing. At the north-east end of Woden Law a substantial quarry is obviously the source of such stone for the neighbouring camp.

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