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Clints and Grykes

Clints are the blocks of limestone that constitute the flat parts of limestone pavement. Grykes are the fissures between the clints. In the Burren the dominant gryke system runs almost north to south but there is a less-developed system running at right angles to it.

Grykes can stretch, usually in straight lines, for hundreds of metres until they suddenly end or are lost beneath superficial deposits.

Water has created the Burren by eating away at the limestone. This can be seen in the photograph where the water draining from the horizontal top of the clint is cutting small channels or runnels into the edges, and then the water runs into the gryke. There it widens the gryke and further undermines the clint. On some clints, such as those on the left, small saucer-shaped hollows are formed. Water lies in these which further breaks down the limestone, and so even larger hollows are formed. Eventually these hollows and the grykes have small amounts of soil which can then support plant and animal life.