Welcome to the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and a landscape of dramatic changes, of exploration and discovery.
A landscape untouched by glaciation, revealing stories unseen elsewhere in the world. Stories of tropical seas and scorching deserts, raised beaches and drowned forests, hippopotami and mammoth, straight-tusked elephant and sabre-toothed tiger, cave bear and earliest man.
Situated within the stunning, rolling hills of South Devon, Torbay's geology has created the beautiful coastline of today, which fundamentally links the rich diversity of landscape with wildlife, people and culture.
The unique combination of a superb geological resource, well-developed tourism facilities, a dedicated and innovative conservation trust and well-developed partnerships between the public, private and voluntary sectors makes this area well placed to develop a dynamic and successful Geopark, promoting geological heritage and sustainable development for the 21st Century.
In the grand scheme of things, our view that we are standing on solid ground is deceptive. The Earth is dynamic, both inside and out, and an understanding of geological processes in operation from the very beginning helps to explain why the geology we find around us today is how it is.
Click on the Geo Time Spiral to find out more.
Television's favourite geologist Prof. Iain Stewart is patron of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark.
Iain is the presenter of Journeys from the Centre of the Earth, and the award winning BBC series Earth - The Power of the Planet.
He hopes that as patron he will be able to encourage more to share his enthusiasm for the dramatic events and changes which have shaped the English Riviera Geopark over millions of years and to gather support in the wider community for the European Geopark Network.
"The English Riviera Geopark is one of the most exciting initiatives I have seen in terms of the quality of the geology and the enthusiasm of the team. I am proud to act as its Patron."
A Member of the Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geological Programme (IGCP), Iain has recently been appointed Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at Plymouth University.
In September 2016 we will host the most significant international conference to come to Torbay since the 1950's, when over 800 delegates from the World's 120 UNESCO Global Geoparks join us for the 7th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, under the patronage of UNESCO.
The video below was made to give these international guests a flavour of what they can expect when joining us in the beautiful English Riviera.
Delegates will visit sites of geological, cultural and scientific interest during their stay, as well as experiencing our award winning beaches and some of the many attractions, more than any other resort in the UK.
Our designation as a Geopark is based upon the international importance of 32 geosites covering a story of 3 geological time periods, all found within a compact area.
Click on the map to find out more about our sites of scientific interest.
Within the English Riviera Geopark a total of 15 Geological Conservation Review sites are recognised within 4 Global Geosite Framework categories.
In September 2007 the English Riviera received international recognition for its rich geological, historical and cultural heritage.
It became one of just 57 areas around the world at that time to be endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into both the European and Global Geopark Networks.
Following a rigorous revalidation inspection in 2015, the ERGG was awarded a "Green" score, recognising the best practice and work of the Geopark and it's partners.
Since then the Global Geopark Network has grown and as of Sept 2015 there are now 120 Global Geoparks in 33 countries worldwide.
The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark offers an excellent education resource, helping children of all ages to experience their environment through outdoor field work and site visits.
The area is a hot-spot for wildlife - its warm climate, unusual geology and sheltered aspect mean that many species flourish here that are more used to Continental temperatures!
English Nature has classified the area as a "Prime Biodiversity Area", one of 120 across the country. There are 12 nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Geopark, and the waters of Tor Bay are designated a Sensitive Marine Area; 77% of the coastline is designated as SSSI or County Wildlife Site.
Click here to find out more
The English Riviera has even had a great influence on the work of Dame Agatha Christie, the world's most famous mystery and crime writer who was born in Torquay and lived much of her life in the area.
Agatha Christie famously refers to Kents Cavern in her thriller "The Man in the Brown Suit".
The World's best selling novelist spent much time at her holiday home Greenway, now a visitor attraction run by the National Trust.
In Torquay, the Agatha Christie Mile walk leads around the seafront, featuring just some of the locations linked with her life, each marked with a plaque and including the only bust in the world of the most published author of all time.
In the Descent of Man Charles Darwin wrote only twice of "survival of the fittest" — but 95 times about love! 92 times about moral sensitivity. And 200 times about brain and mind.
Archaeological discoveries at Kent's Cavern shook Victorian popular and moral opinion. All discoveries before then had been disregarded or condemned as hoaxes, and many claimed that William Pengelly's findings were inaccurate.
Little did Pengelly know that the excavation of the Cavern would last 15 years and that he would unearth some of the most crucial pieces of evidence that would make Darwin's Theory of Evolution the accepted norm.
We can only imagine the conversations that occurred between Pengelly and Darwin, who for some time resided just down the road from the caves at Hesketh Crescent in Torquay.
Taking a morning boat trip to catch mackerel, and then turning your catch into a culinary masterpiece. The adrenaline rush of Geopark Coasteering or exploring the Geopark's spectacular coastline on a memorable canoe adventure.
Whatever your tastes, there'll be an adventure that's right for you in the English Riviera.
Explore the Geopark on foot, enjoy audio trails learning about the area's geology, and experience the natural beauty of our sites of scientific interest.
Walk through time, connect with local culture, and discover the rich heritage of our Geopark.
You can find more information on our walks and trails by clicking here.
Walking, cycling, Geocaching, diving, kite surfing, sea kayaking, sailing, jet skiing and water skiing.
We think you're going to enjoy getting GeoActive in the great outdoors. Take some time out for the thing you enjoy most, connect with the local wildlife, and recharge your batteries.
Whether you're happiest on land, in the water, or exploring off piste on your own, you'll find the perfect experience in the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark!
Visit our website by clicking here for details.
The hi-tech industries such as advanced electronics, medical and marine research are benefitting from the right conditions for prosperity and growth that are available in English Riviera Global Geopark, due to the competitive advantages and skills relevant skills.
The warmest of welcomes awaits you on the English Riviera, South Devon’s Beautiful Bay. Surrounded by stunning coast and countryside, the towns of Torquay, Babbacombe, Paignton and Brixham offer fantastic all year round holidays for everyone, from couples to families.
Historically one of the English Riviera's major industries, and still going strong, tourism and the growing market for geo-tourism are major drivers of the local economy.
For more tourist information visit the official tourism website and enjoy the video below.
English Riviera Global Geopark has a wealth of cultural activities on offer, from arts and events, to museums and theatres, there is something for everyone.