What is a geopark?
A UNESCO definition of a global geopark is a unified area with a geological heritage of international significance.
The English Riviera won this status in 2007 and is the only urban geopark in the World.
Why is the English Riviera a geopark?
Across the bay, there are many areas where you can see history in the making. There is physical evidence in the rocks of how the Earth was formed millions of years ago, and you can see how the land around us influenced early man, right up to modern times.
More information is available on our website.
Where can I see what makes it a geopark for myself?
Where the earliest anatomically modern human fossil in north western Europe was discovered. Rainwater and underground streams carved out caves in the rocks creating the caves 500,000 years ago.
They display the above mentioned jawbone fragment along with a display of the area’s geology.
Built on a gap in the rocks created by a geological fault line, it’s an ideal way to visit Oddicombe beach to see how the red sand of the desert covering the area 270 million years ago became sand stone cliffs. These cliffs are softer than limestone and are easily eroded by the sea which you can see in evidence. On stormy days the sea turns red.
A limestone outreach created when continents hit each other rising it out of the sea. Mined heavily, it’s now a nature reserve, home to many rare species. Also in evidence are Napoleonic forts created from the sandstone.
Using the building materials around them, the early monk settlers used the sandstone, hence the red tinge to parts of the building. Visit the museum for the fascinating story of the history of Torquay and how it developed.
Another sandstone cliff stretching into the sea.
This area became the place to be seen promenading in fashionable Victorian times. The sheer cliff face is an exposed major fault line that runs across Devon. Here it emerges and then runs out to sea.
An early Saxon settlement, built out of sight of invaders in a fertile valley using traditional thatched roofing techniques which are still evident today – it’s like going back in time. A real chocolate box village.
Take a boat tour round the cliffs of the bay with knowledgeable commentary on the rocks and nature you can see.
Get up close and personal by doing the same but by kayak.
We’d suggest driving to Kent’s Cavern, Babbacombe and Brixham but everything else is in walking distance.