Parkhouse Hill

Set within the rolling Peak District countryside, Parkhouse Hill, near Earl Sterndale, is a beautiful location with various types limestone reef fossils. The view from the top of the hill is nothing short of stunning.


♦ There is a small road that runs directly below the hill. It is unclear whether parking is allowed on the verges of this road. If in doubt, drive past the hill and park when you have gone over a cattle grid.
♦ From here, it is a quick walk to the base of the hill, where loose pieces of limestone can be found. Higher up the hill, there are outcrops of solid rock. Fossils can be observed within limestone at all heights.
♦ Ref: SK 07994 66929


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – There are plenty of loose rocks to investigate for fossils. Outcrops of limestone in situ are also fossiliferous.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – In some places, the hill is steep. There are also some precipitous drops near the summit. Children must be supervised at this location and it may be best to restrict them to the lower slopes.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – Car parking is easy and the hill is within a short distance. In addition, there is public access to the area.
TYPE: – The area contains of limestone with various reef fossils, which can be found over much of the hill.


It is worth investigating any exposed rock. As this is an SSSI, fossils should not be collected but left for future visitors to see.

Parkhouse Hill represents the remains of a Carboniferous reef atoll and the shape of the hill largely mirrors the shape of the Carboniferous reef that it once was. The overlying softer rocks have been eroded away to reveal the limestone, but the hill remains largely unaffected by modern erosive forces. While standing on the summit, with a bit of imagination, you can almost see the coral islands around you in the shape of the surrounding hills. Limestone reef fossils are relatively abundant. The most commonly encountered fossil are brachiopods, crinoids and corals.

Large brachiopod


The Carboniferous Limestone Supergroup at Parkhouse Hill is Visean in age, from the Carboniferous Limestone Series. The rock is dominated by typically bioclastic to micritic, bioturbated with common shelly, crinoidal and algal beds of limestone and coral biostromes which are darker grey, and commonly dolomitised

The limestone is well documented for its corals, brachiopods and crinoid stems.

Parkhouse Hill.jpg

Limestone with crinoid stem


The steeper areas of the hill should be attempted only by the fit and sure-footed. Many loose rocks are present within the faces of the limestone outcrops, which could pose a threat if disturbed. Near the top of the hill are steep drops. However, there are plenty of fossils to be seen lower down, so this is an ideal location for children under supervision.


A hammer, chisel and eye protection are essential for splitting loose rocks, but be that aware this is a SSSI.


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 – Parkhouse Hill

It is important to follow our ‘Code of Conduct’ when collecting fossils or visiting any site. Please also read our ‘Terms and Conditions


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