There's no paving finer than natural stone; it's been used for thousands of years and represents one of man's earliest technologies - the ability to make a traversable pathway. It will outlast all of us, every unit is unique, it's a natural product with texture and colour determined by millennia of geological processes rather than modern chemical dyes, it's incredibly strong, hard-wearing and if all that wasn't enough, it's also beautiful.
The stone paving most commonly used in mainland Britain is the legendary 'York' stone, hewn from the Pennine grits of northern England, and used to pave the streets of the capital, along with almost every other major town in the country up until the last century. But there are other stone products used for paving - Pennant from Gloucestershire, slate from Wales and Cornwall, Liscannor from Co. Clare, limestones from Derbyshire and North Yorkshire, granites from Shap and Aberdeen, basalts, whinstone and a host of other rock types, from each and every region of these islands.
Increasingly though, we are seeing more and more stone imported from more exotic parts of the world. There has been a surge in the supply of an Indian Sandstone that is similar in appearance to our own Yorkstone but sells for slightly less per square metre.
There are also granites from Brazil and China, marbles and slates from southern Europe, all supplied as what we would term 'flagstones', as well as cubes, setts and cobbles in hardstones such as gabbro and diorite.
Amazingly powerful, modern machines with the latest diamond blade technology allow stone to be cut and dressed with a fraction of the effort required by the quarrymen and streetmasons of old, and there is now stone paving available to whatever plan size, thickness and finish is required. Stone can be custom cut to create fan radius details, cut to sizes to use with other manufactured paving units and given a wide range of special finishes.