Geological Conservation Review (GCR)


The Geological Conservation Review


Cliffs of South Pembrokeshire, Wales, a site selected for the GCR for its importance in studying coastal geomorphology © Stewart CampbellConservation of geological and geomorphological sites has always been part of the responsibilities of the statutory nature conservation agencies (the Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage and their forebears the Nature Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy Council). A major initiative to identify and describe the most important geological sites in Britain began in 1977, with the launching of the Geological Conservation Review (GCR). This was a major step forward in Earth heritage conservation.
The GCR was designed to identify those sites of national and international importance needed to show all the key scientific elements of the Earth heritage of Britain. These sites display sediments, rocks, fossils, and features of the landscape that make a special contribution to our understanding and appreciation of Earth science and the geological history of Britain, which stretches back hundreds of millions of years. After over two decades of site evaluation and documentation, we now have an inventory of over 3000 GCR sites, selected for around 100 categories (the GCR 'Blocks') encompassing the range of geological and geomorphological features of Britain.
The results of the Geological Conservation Review programme are being published in a series of 45 volumes, the Geological Conservation Review Series. The aim of the Geological Conservation Review Series is to provide a public record of the features of interest and importance at localities already notified or being considered for notification as 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSIs). The sites selected – GCR sites – form the basis of statutory geological and geomorphological site conservation in Britain. More information regarding the selection of sites, and the publication and content of the GCR volumes, both published and in preparation is available on the GCR Series webpages. Publication will be completed in 2011.
In addition to the detailed site reports available in the 45-volume series, JNCC has developed the GCR site database, which contains basic site information for the 3000 GCR sites already selected together with some fuller reports (as published in GCR books) that have been converted to digital forms suitable for provision via the GCR database. Users of the resource can search for information in various ways, for example by site name, geographical location or geological context. For more information on the database>>>