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The Stiperstones, Shropshire: photos

These rock formations, known as the Stiperstones, are in the English county of Shropshire, not far from the Welsh border. Not only are the rocks themselves dramatic and beautiful, but the views over the surrounding countryside are extensive and spectacular.

The ridge was formed millions of years ago during a period of volcanic activity when a plume of rising magma failed to reach the surface. Instead, it slowly cooled and crystallised to form a type of rock known as quartzite. Being much harder than the surrounding rocks, it resisted erosion and now stands proudly above the surrounding plain. During the last Ice Age the ridge would have been visible above the ice sheet  and been subject to repeated freezing and thawing that cracked the rocks and caused a lot of material to fall away. That process resulted in the Stiperstones as we see them today.

All the photos were taken by me in 2013.

Stiperstones 6

The formation at the back is known as "The Devil's Chair". There is a local legend to the effect that England can only be conquered if the Stiperstones disappear, and the Devil is trying to make this happen by sitting on his chair every night to force the rocks down beneath the surface. One can only assume that he isn't trying hard enough!

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