Youths destroy landmark rock that had balanced on crag since the Ice Age
The Brimham Rocks have stood proud since the Ice Age, becoming a National Trust attraction and drawing visitors to one of the most striking landmarks in the Yorkshire Dales.
But after withstanding the elements for tens of thousands of years, the balancing sandstone rocks – also known as Millstone Grit – have fallen victim to a greater foe: vandals.
Police are hunting five youths who were spotted toppling one of the balancing stones from its perch, causing irreparable damage.
Pictures from the scene show the stone shattered into pieces after being pushed down a 30ft drop. The National Trust condemned the “mindless destruction” of the landmark.
“It might have been fun for some people. Actually, it is just completely pointless and needless,” said a National Trust spokesman.
The rocks, near Pateley Bridge, began forming 320 million years ago and took on their unusual, sculpted form during the last Ice Age as they were eroded by water, glaciation and wind.
They are popular with walkers, climbers and picnicking families, attracting thousands of day-trippers each year. Many of the formations have been given names to help visitors identify them, including the Sphinx, the Watchdog, the Camel, the Turtle and the Dancing Bear.
A North Yorkshire Police statement said: “At around 8.45pm on Friday June 1, a group of five young people were seen pushing a rock at the top of one of the crags. This resulted in the rock falling from the crag, causing damage to the crag face.
“The damage this has caused is irreparable and it is now in a potentially dangerous condition. The incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors to Brimham Rocks.”
There is other evidence of vandalism at the site, with names carved into the rocks and stones.
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