At Stockdale Beck, Silurian rocks have been cut through by water and various zones are exposed. There is one particular zone in which well-preserved graptolites can be found..
♦ From Kendal, follow the A6 northwards. Take the road to Longsleddale and then follow the road to Sadgill. This is a narrow, single track, which does not connect with any other road, but can still be very busy with hikers. There are some passing places along the route. The road seems to go on forever, but you need to look out for a small road on the right signposted ‘Stockdale’.
♦ When you reach Stockdale, there are spaces for two vehicles, one on the left hand side at the junction in a small layby and the second on the grass by the entrance. Make sure there is enough room for farm traffic and mini-buses to pass. If no spaces are available, drive 800m further up the road until to reach a car park with a bridge and walk back southwards to Stockdale Beck.
♦ Walk along the track, and it will pass through a farm and lead to an adventure centre marked by some old buildings. There is a large area where cars are usually parked (only for members of the centre), just before the last small barn. After the old bridge, there is easy access to Stockdale Beck. Immediately entering the beck, on the left hand side is the graptolite bed.
♦ Ref: 54.44206°N, 2.78508°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦ – Although the actual graptolite zone is highly fossiliferous and in excellent preservation, the zone is only a few centimetres thick. The bedding is almost vertical, so only a very limited section is available.
CHILDREN: ♦ – This location is not recommended for families. The stream is often fast flowing and can be deep in places. The rocks in the stream are also very slippery.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – Stockdale Beck is situated in the middle of nowhere. Although the walk isn’t too bad, the road is a long, narrow single track road, which leads to nowhere. It is very busy, as it is popular with hikers. Parking for one car is available nearby or, if this is taken, you will need to walk a further 800m from the car park.
TYPE: – This location is a stream, which has cut through rock, so you will need suitable footwear. Visiting is not possible during winter months and after heavy rainfall.
This location yields one type of graptolite found in the Murchisoni Zone. This is a light silver colour and are very well preserved – some can be up to 10cm long. There is only one zone in this stream section, which runs vertical making it hard to find. The zone is a dark black shale and is very hard but easy to split. This is just under the old barn, on the slope left of the tree and where you first enter the stream.
However, the small cliff face here has been badly eroded way by fossil hunters and has been cut back. You should try to conserve this site for future generations by not hammering at the cliff face. The bed dips down and you should be able to find loose rocks lying around that area, which can be split.
Stockdale Beck cuts through rock from the Llandovery Stage of the end of the Silurian. The Lower Brathy Flag Formation and Browgill Beds have been cut through. At the top of the beck, a fault can be seen.
Visiting this location is not recommended during the winter or after a period of heavy rain, as the stream can become quite fierce. Take care not to slip or fall, as some of the rocks can be quite slippery.
Note that hammering the banks of Stockdale beck is not permitted. Therefore, you should only split rocks already in the stream.
This site is an SSSI. This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information – Stockdale Beck