Rocks and scenery case studies

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What are the uses of rocks?

Case study: Farming on Dartmoor

  • Over 5,000 years farming has been the main land use on Dartmoor.
  • Over 90% of the land within the national park today is farmed; half for open moorland, which is used for grazing livestock, and the rest is made-up of fringe farmland and improved grassland.
  • The whole of Dartmoor is now designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area and farmers enter into management agreements, for payment, to carry out agricultural practices that conserve the upland landscape and wildlife habitats.
  • This may include reducing the amount of livestock grazing in sensitive areas, but they must also restrict the use of fertiliser and pesticides.
  • Farmers are paid to maintain stone walls and hedgerows, to develop hay meadows and to adopt agricultural practices that help to protect the areas agricultural and historic interest.

Case study: The London Basin chalk aquifer

  • The rocks underneath London form a basin called a syncline (the lower arc of a fold in Fold Mountains).
  • Water soaks into the chalk where it is exposed on either side of London and then percolates through the chalk to form a giant underground reservoir called an aquifer.
  • For hundreds of years this water has supplied water to London.
  • The aquifer is carefully managed by the Environment Agency to ensure that its use is sustainable.
  • In the 1960’s industrial use caused the water table to drop to 88m below sea level, which resulted in some seawater contamination.
  • Following careful management and reduced demand from industry since the 1990’s, the water table has risen by as much as 3m a year.

Case study: Limestone scenery: recreation in the Yorkshire Dales

  • The Yorkshire Dales is a National Park largely made up of Carboniferous limestone.
  • The landscape is spectacular, with steep valleys, cliffs and extensive grassy plateaux.
  • The Yorkshire Dales offer many opportunities for leisure and recreation.
  • The area is criss-crossed with footpaths


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