Balloch Community Woodland

Creetown Geology

The solid rock geology of the area is composed of sedimentary greywackes and shales modified by glacial deposition and erosion. 

The Solway Firth marks the boundary between two former continents, dating back to the Silurian period, over 460 million years ago.  At this time the extensive lapetus ocean separated the two land masses. 

Processes deep within the earth caused these two continents to move towards each other and the ocean became smaller as the ocean floor was pushed beneath the northern continent.  This caused the silts and sands, which once lay on the ocean bed, to be squeezed upwards to form greywacke and shale hills. 

Later, volcanic action caused molten rock to intrude into the existing, predominantly sedimentary rock strata.  These intrusions, once cooled, produced granite masses.  Two igneous intrusions are located south of Balloch Wood and consist of white granodiorite, a coarse grained granite formed when the molten rock slowly cooled.   

The solid geological make up produced by this mountain-building event was subsequently modified by glacial action.  During the last main glacial, the region was covered by the southern upland ice sheet. 

Glacial action has tended to have the effect of rounding off the topography of the region, by over deepening river valleys and carving the wide, smooth domed summits of the Southern Uplands.  When the ice retreated from the last ice age the ground was left with a layer of ground-up rock mixed with pebbles and boulders. 

However, in the River Cree area, the solid geology proved more resistant to glacial and fluvio-glacial action creating narrow v-shaped channels with steep wooded slopes – typical of the landscape type of Balloch Wood.

Veins containing mineral deposits have been found and subsequently exploited in the Creetown area.  Lead and copper ores were mined nearby at Pibble and numerous trial workings were undertaken. A small lead mine existed in Balloch Wood between 1862 and 1864. 

However, the most significant rock to the history of Creetown is granite, which was mined in the area in the mid 19th century.  Creetown’s white granite is of a very high quality and not only was it used to build Liverpool Docks, but it was sent all over the UK for building and paving stones and for the manufacture of setts for road surfacing.  Several quarries prospered and then declined with output finally coming to an end, apart from stone for monumental purposes, in the 1980s.