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Some British Slate Types in Brief

21st April 2017 by in category blog tagged as , , , with 0 and 3

Some swot notes on a selection of British slate varieties

British Slate Roof image by StockSolutions (via Shutterstock).

The glorious British slate roof, as seen on these terraced houses. Image by Stock Solutions (via Shutterstock).

We at Cumbria Roofing are familiar with the different kinds of British slate types, and imported ones too. When you leave your house, take a train, go for a walk or nip to the shops, the last thing you think is “that’s a nice bit of Coniston Old Man silver grey”. You might think nothing of it and think, “here’s another slate roof”. The same is true of bus and train enthusiasts if he or she goes into specifics about bus and train models. To the rest of us, “it is just a train (or a bus)”.

There are subtle differences among British slate varieties. Given how our planet had changed several million years ago, the kind of slate variety and colour depends on location. Slate is a metamorphic material, a byproduct of previous volcanic activity. Yet, it is the spoils of which, quarried for centuries that has added character to Cumberland, Westmorland, and countless parts of Great Britain. In this jargon buster, we look at four principal varieties.

Welsh Slate

Welsh slate is grey and blue in colour and is regarded by many as the highest quality British slate. Heather Blue is one, which is quarried at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, in the shadow of Snowdon. Another one is Welsh Dark Grey, which is quarried in Cwt-y-Bugail above Ffestiniog.


This is a blue and grey slate which has been quarried for more than 300 years. Burlington slate comes from slate deposits which occurred during the Silurian period. The slate mine is still in operation, run by the descendants of the original Cavendish family.


One of the most famous types of British slate is the green slate we know and love at Cumbria Roofing. This variety was created from the metamorphic ash of the Borrowdale volcanic groups of mountains. Westmorland slate is used on the Houses of Parliament roof.


There are several kinds of Cumbrian slate varieties. These include:

  • Coniston Old Man (silver-grey);
  • Broughton Moor (green);
  • Hodge Close (green);
  • Kirkstone (green);
  • Brathay (blue-black);
  • Longsleddale (blue-black);
  • Kirkby-in-Furness (blue-grey).

As we know ourselves, Cumbrian slate types are known for their hard wearing nature. Well, it is on our doorstep, so we should know.

Cumbria Roofing, 21 April 2017.

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