Geological Conservation Review

The Geological Conservation Review (GCR) is produced by the UK's Joint Nature Conservation Committee and is designed to identify those sites of national and international importance needed to show all the key scientific elements of the geological and geomorphological features of Britain. These sites display sediments, rocks, minerals, fossils, and features of the landscape that make a special contribution to an understanding and appreciation of Earth science and the geological history of Britain, which stretches back more than three billion years. The intention of the project, which was devised in 1974 by George Black and William Wimbledon working for the Governmental advisory agency, the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), was activated in 1977. It aimed to provide the scientific rationale and information base for the conservation of geological SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest, protected under British law (latterly the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended 1995). The NCC and country conservation agencies were established in 1990 when JNCC became established (Environmental Protection Act 1990) and took over responsibility for managing the GCR site assessment process, and publishing accounts of accepted sites.

By the year 2000, over 3000 localities had been identified as qualifying for GCR standard (SSSI standard). NCC and later JNCC, have published detailed site descriptions of the GCR localities. For part of the GCR Series of books, commercial publishers were involved, principally Chapman & Hall. To date 36 of the planned 45 volumes have been published, with volumes 15 to 36 being published by JNCC directly, and available for sale through the Natural History Book Service, Totnes.

GCR blocksEdit

The GCR is broken down into 107 'blocks' whereby sites with a similarly themed interest are collected together and described in one of the published volumes described above. A block may contain anything from 2 to 140 sites:[1]

Precambrian and Structural Geology

  • Alpine Structures of Southern England
  • Caledonian Structures of Shetland
  • Caledonian Structures of the Lake District
  • Caledonian Structures of the Southern Uplands
  • Caledonian Structures of Wales
  • Dalradian
  • Lewisian
  • Moine
  • Precambrian of England & Wales
  • Precambrian Palaeontology
  • Torridonian
  • Variscan Structures of South Wales and the Mendips
  • Variscan Structures of South-West England

Igneous and Mineralogy

Palaeozoic Stratigraphy

  • Arenig - Llanvirn
  • Arenig - Tremadoc
  • Cambrian
  • Cambrian - Tremadoc
  • Caradoc-Ashgill
  • Dinantian of Devon & Cornwall
  • Dinantian of Northern England & North Wales
  • Dinantian of Scotland
  • Dinantian of Southern England & South Wales
  • Llandeilo
  • Llandovery
  • Ludlow
  • Marine Devonian
  • Marine Permian
  • Namurian of England & Wales
  • Non-Marine Devonian
  • Permian - Triassic
  • Pridoli
  • Tremadoc
  • Wenlock
  • Westphalian

Mesozoic-Tertiary Stratigraphy


Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology

  • Quaternary of Cumbria
  • Quaternary of East Anglia
  • Quaternary of Midlands - Avon
  • Quaternary of North-East England
  • Quaternary of Scotland
  • Quaternary of Somerset
  • Quaternary of South Central England
  • Quaternary of South-East England
  • Quaternary of South-West England
  • Quaternary of the Pennines and Adjacent Areas
  • Quaternary of the Thames
  • Quaternary of Wales


  • Caves
  • Coastal Geomorphology of England
  • Coastal Geomorphology of Scotland
  • Coastal Geomorphology of Wales
  • Fluvial Geomorphology of England
  • Fluvial Geomorphology of Scotland
  • Fluvial Geomorphology of Wales
  • Karst
  • Mass movement


  • Ellis NV (ed), 1996 An Introduction to the Geological Conservation Review JNCC, Peterborough
  1. ^ JNCC List of GCR blocks in the UK

External linksEdit