Introduction to the Geology of Devon

Key Geological Features

What is Geodiversity?

The Importance of Geological Conservation

What are County Geological Sites?

County Geological Sites Across Devon

Identification & Monitoring of Sites

Educational Use & Visiting Sites

South-West Regional Geodiversity Partnership


Links & Resources

Contact Us


The term geodiversity incorporates all the variety of rocks, minerals and landforms and the processes which have formed the features of Earth through geological time. Most famous, are those rare and exceptional occurrences such as dinosaur footprints or mammoth tusks, but there are many more less-exceptional, but equally important pieces of the geological jig-saw puzzle. When pieced together, these give insight to past climates, earlier environments and life on earth.

Geodiversity contributes to our quality of life in many ways. Its benefits include:

  • Appreciation – geological features are admired by many people, with large numbers of visitors attracted to some sites (e.g. the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site).

  • Knowledge – the study of these features enables us to understand the evolution and history of the planet.

  • Products – commercial extraction provides building materials and minerals for industry and small-scale collection of fossils and minerals brings enjoyment to individuals.

  • Natural Processes – the functioning of natural systems provide a number of essential services, such as water supply and natural flood defence.

In contrast, geological and geomorphological conservation – increasingly referred to as ‘geoconservation’ - is the discipline concerned with the protection, active management or interpretation of geodiversity.

Schemes such as the Geodiversity Action Plan (GAP) have been put in place to provide guidance about the proper management of County Geological Sites. In Devon this takes the form of the Devon Biodiversity and Geodiversity Action Plan, which has deliberately been combined as an integrated initiative, highlighting the wildlife and geology relationship. For further information please see the links below:



For further information of the Country-wide schemes, please go to the GeoConservationUK website, accessible from the ‘Links and Resources’ page on this site.

Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay