English Riviera Geopark English Riviera Geopark
The English Riviera Geopark – the worlds first urban Geopark
In September 2007 Torbay received international recognition for it rich geological and cultural heritage, it became one of just 57 areas around the world to be endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into the network of Global Geoparks. Geoparks aims to protect geo-diversity and to promote geological, historical and cultural heritage to the general public as well as to support sustainable economic development. The status pulls together all of our wonderful heritage and celebrates it on an international stage.
Torbay’s past is hidden within its beautiful landscape and coastline. The Bay’s striking limestone headlands were formed around 400 million years ago when the whole area would have been under warm tropical seas where corals thrived and trilobites scuttled across the sea floor, a time when Torbay was in fact south of the equator! Explore the end of Hopes Nose and you’ll find fossils of the corals that lived all those years ago. Over the next 100 million years these rocks were folded and fractured, under enormous pressures, as they were crumpled and pushed northwards by plate tectonic process. By 280 million years ago Torbay was at approximately the same latitude as the Sahara desert today, this is when the rocks now exposed around the inner areas of the Bay were formed. Look closely at the red sandstones around Roundham head and the patterns you see are evidence of ancient sand dunes, whilst the jumble of rocks and stones at the eastern end of Goodrington beach are evidence of flash floods that followed dramatic storms in distant mountains.
From a cultural perspective Torbay provides an amazing example of how geology influences both the history and development of an area; from the Bay’s earliest residents at Kents Cavern, through to the development of Torre Abbey and Cockington. Plus of course its use as a safe anchorage during the Napoleonic Wars and the construction of the forts at Berry Head to Agatha Christie, the most published author of all time.
If you are local, then you’re probably thinking “shame we’re no longer enjoying that tropical sunshine” but on your way to work or school look at the environment around you with fresh eyes and when you have a chance explore, this rich heritage forms part of who you are. You are the Geopark and the Geopark is you. Enjoy!
If you are not local then welcome to the worlds first urban Geopark!
To discover the amazing stories for yourself visit the English Riviera Geopark website, follow the English Riviera Geopark Trail or take a Geopark Cruise out into the Bay and discover how 400 million years of our dynamic planets history can be unravelled right here, stories of tropical seas and scorching deserts, raised beaches and drowned forests, hippopotami and sabre-toothed tiger, cave bear and earliest man.
For more information about the English Riviera Geopark or the European and Global Geopark Networks visit www.englishrivierageopark.org.uk
Please remember the geology of Torbay is special so take only memories, all sites are protected by law.
View my website http://www.englishrivierageopark.org.uk/
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