A distinctive hill in the SW of East Ayrshire, Benbeoch rises to 463m (1519 feet) 2 miles (3 km) northeast of Dalmellington. A rocky cliff near the summit is a notable feature of the landscape seen from the south and represents the exposure of a sill of the unusual rock kylite. This alkaline igneous rock was intruded between coal-measures of Carboniferous age around 290 million years ago and has been revealed following millions of years of uplift and erosion. Benbeoch is the type locality for kylite and an area of 83.3 ha (206 acres) around the exposure has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest owing to its international geological importance.

However, by the late 1990s, Benbeoch became a summit under siege as open-cast coal mining encroached from all sides. In 1995, Scottish Natural Heritage had given permission to extract coal from directly around the kylite sill on the basis that more of it would be revealed promoting the understanding and scientific value of the site. The operators were instructed that the site should be left substantially exposed once open-cast activity was completed, rather than the usual practice of restoring the original contours of the land.

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