The junction between the Offa’s Dyke Path and the road at Rock Farm is a good place to appreciate the Eglwyseg limestone cliffs, which are indented here and a little further north.
The cliffs run along the hilltop on the north side of the Vale of Llangollen, which is a rift valley – formed when the ground dropped between two parallel faults in the Earth’s crust.
The limestone was formed when this land was under the sea. The skeletons of various small marine animals built up over time and were compressed to form this rock, which is hard and weatherproof – ideal for buildings. Limestone can also be broken down into lime by a simple heating process which was once carried out at kilns close to each source of quarried limestone. Lime was used to fertilise farmland and for mortar, before cement became widespread.
The Eglwyseg scarp was quarried extensively, for lime and for building stone. A short way north of here, the OD Path passes a limekiln, one of the best preserved of the many along the scarp.
“Eglwyseg” was recorded in 1277-1278 as Eglesfegel. Eglwys = church. The suffix possibly refers to a person, whose identity is unrecorded, called Begel or Megel (the name mutating after the feminine noun Eglwys).
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