It has been a time of repeated periods of glaciation, separated by interglacials (in the most recent of which we live!). And much of the detail of the countryside around Alston has been shaped by ice during this time. 

Cross Fell was the focus of an ice cap, Park Fell was streamlined by ice, Nattrass Gill flows in a valley eroded by glacial meltwater, as also was the deep channel across the watershed on Whitfield Fell, alongside the A686. Most fields and gardens are on glacial deposits. The last ice disappeared from here as recently as when early civilisations were developing in the Near East.