Rocks balanced since the Ice Age have been toppled and destroyed by yobs

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.

Vandals also wrote on some of the rocks


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 rock has since shattered into hundreds of pieces


“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.

In 1987, the rocks appeared in the video for the Bee Gees’ single You Win Again. One of the wardens told a local newspaper: “They were here for a day and a half with a video crew who used a balloon to take aerial shots. 

“They sang as they stood in front of the rocks, but it actually turned out to be a very small part of the video.

“One of them threw a bit of a wobbler and didn’t turn up. In the final video, the rocks themselves appeared but without the Bee Gees on them.”

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