Our Geopark, covering the entire area of Torbay, is Naturally Inspiring.  It shares stories of a landscape untouched by glaciation 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...


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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 to endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into both the European and Global Geopark Networks. Since then the Global Geopark Network has grown and as of April 2019 there are now 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks.

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.

Undeniably, the geological tale behind the English Riviera Geopark is quite spectacular and one of  extremes. From a seascape bathed in the warm and beautiful tropical seas of the Marine Devonian to a landscape of arid, barren Permian desert and from our earliest relatives, living in caves, to modern civilization. The Geopark's outstanding historical contribution, both in terms of the development of geological and archaeological sciences is astounding, from the Huttonian Theory, to the naming of the Devonian Period by Sedgwick and Murchison and even Pengelly's discoveries influencing world wide public opinion as to the antiquity of man.

The shape of the Bay provided the naval fleet safety during times of crisis and thus was a catalyst for the building of the Napoleonic Forts while its sheltered natural harbours led to the growth of what, at one point, became the UK's largest fishing port. The beauty of the area influenced the early development of a tourism industry thus instigating the requirement for the exploitation of its geological resources in the form of extensive limestone quarrying, in addition to the marble and terracotta industries.


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