Skip navigation | Site Map |

 Geodiversity

Together with a range of partners, the AONB Partnership works to make the most of the North Pennines' stunning landscape and world-class geological heritage through interpretation, education, conservation and nature-based tourism.  

What is geodiversity?

Geodiversity is the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, landforms, processes and environments that form the foundations of landscape, biodiversity, human activity and culture. The link between geology and people is particularly strong in the North Pennines, where centuries of mining have had a profound effect on the landscape and local communities.   

Geopark status

In recognition of its outstanding geology and landscape the North Pennines AONB was awarded European Geopark status in 2003 and was one of the founding members of the Global Geoparks Network a year later. The UNESCO-endorsed Geopark status also recognises the strong efforts by the AONB Partnership and our many partners to make the most of the area's rich geological heritage.

Geodiversity action

Our geodiversity work is all about Earth science interpretation, education and conservation, and using our geological heritage to support the local economy. This work includes a range of projects linked to the area's European and Global Geopark status and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England. Projects include:

  • a new book, 'Reading the Rocks', which tells the story of the geology and landscape of the North Pennines and how local people have used the rocks and minerals around them
  • a DVD and booklet which record the memories and stories of North Pennine quarrymen
  • a geologically themed cycle guide, 'Wheels to the Wild', which includes a three-day cycle route and three day-rides
  • guided walks, events and activities
  • outdoor interpretation panels, and displays in local attractions and businesses
  • Rock Boxes, teaching resources and work with local schools 
  • geological leaflets, geotrail leaflets and audio-visual trails 
  • an annual celebration of North Pennine geology and landscape. In previous years this has been 'Northern Rocks - the North Pennines Festival of Geology and Landscape'. In 2012 this will be replaced by three 'Rocky Weekends' in May, September and October. 

Contact Dr Elizabeth Pickett, Geodiversity Officer at the North Pennines AONB Partnership, for more information. Tel: 01388 528801 (elizabeth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk).

Allendale Chimney is an old smelt mill flue chimney - Allendale
The spectacular Ashgill Force waterfall in the South Tyne Valley
Children enjoying an activity at Harehope Quarry, Weardale
Cover of Reading the Rocks book