GCR block - Mesozoic Palaeobotany (MES-PALBOT)

Mesozoic Palaeobotany

Block Description

UK map showing distribution of GCR sites of GCR block MES-PALBOT
Distribution of GCR sites of GCR block Mesozoic Palaeobotany

In contrast to the manner in which most invertebrate fossils are represented in the GCR, fossils of vertebrates, arthropods (except trilobites) and terrestrial plants do have their own dedicated GCR Blocks, because of the relative rarity of the fossil material. The GCR sites selected for the Mesozoic Palaeobotany GCR Block represent the British fossil record of vascular land plants during the Mesozoic Era (which spanned from 230 to 65 million years ago (Ma)). This was a time of major evolution and diversification of plants following a major mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the Permian Period (=end of Palaeozoic Era). Earlier fossil plants are afforded their own GCR Block, ‘Palaeozoic Palaeobotany’. See PAZ-PALBOT; later plants are covered by the ‘Tetriary Palaeobotany’ GCR Block.

Palaeontological characteristics

From the earliest inter-tidal vegetation of the Silurian Period (425 million years ago), plants progressively became established on land, and eventually developed into the lush tropical wetland forests of the Late Carboniferous Period (300 million years ago).

The end of the Palaeozoic Era (c. 250 million years ago) was a time of major change in land vegetation when traumatic environmental events caused rapid extinction of many plant groups. However, a few groups survived through into the Mesozoic Era and from these the gradual development of modern vegetation can be traced through the fossil record. The emptying of the many ecological niches provided an opportunity for more advanced groups such as cycads and conifers to radiate in the Mesozoic Era, and marked the start of the development of a modern-style of vegetation. During the early part of the Mesozoic Era, many families of living ferns and gymnosperms appear and, in late Mesozoic times, the first evidence of flowering plants can be found. By the following Tertiary sub-Era, much of the vegetation was dominated by flowering plants like those of the present day.

Britain has a particularly fine palaeobotancial record for mid-Jurassic (e.g. the Yorkshire coast) and early Cretaceous (Sussex coast) deposits and there are many sites internationally important for floras of these ages.


The fossil plant material has been useful in palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions as an indicator of the geological past. The palaeogeography of each relevant geological period since the earliest terrestrial vegetation of the Mesozoic Era can be found elsewhere on the pages of this website. See AAL-BAJ, APT-ALB, BAT, BER-BAR, CEN-MAA, CLV, HET-PBN, KIM, OXF, PTL-BER; PER-TRI; RTN.

GCR site selection

Owing to the rarity of fossil plant material, this GCR Block represents something of a special case with regard to including all of the sites yielding, or that have yielded, significant types and quantities of scientifically important material that help elucidate the evolution of the main plant groups.

The sites can be allocated to 5 GCR networks based on distinct plant assemblages associated with different time intervals and/or palaeoenvironmental settings as follows:

• British Triassic palaeobotany

• Jurassic palaeobotany of Yorkshire

• Jurassic palaeobotany of southern England

• Jurassic palaeobotany of Scotland

• British Cretaceous palaeobotany

Volume Introduction

Mesozoic Palaeobotany

Site List

Your selection found 26 GCR sites. Sites are sorted alphabetically by country, local authority and then by site name -
CodeNameCountryLocal AuthorityGrid RefGCR Site Account
1650Maggot - Kingbarrow - WaycroftEnglandDorset CCSY691728Not available
2352Cliff EndEnglandEast Sussex CCTQ887127Not available
921CovehurstEnglandEast Sussex CCTQ846101Not available
2390Huntsman`s QuarryEnglandGloucestershireSP125255Not available
2357Hanover PointEnglandIsle of WightSZ385835Not available
2356Luccombe ChineEnglandIsle of WightSZ583793Not available
152Beast Cliff (Robin Hood's Bay)EnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA002996Not available
153Botton HeadEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCNZ596020Not available
154Broughton Bank (Hasty Bank)EnglandNorth Yorkshire CCNZ568035Not available
155Cloughton WykeEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA020951Not available
156Hayburn WykeEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA011969Not available
157Hillhouse NabEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCSE659993Not available
158Maw Wyke (Hawsker Bottoms)EnglandNorth Yorkshire CCNZ942082Not available
159Red Cliff (Gristhorpe/Cayton Bay)EnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA083842Not available
388Runswick BayEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCNZ809170Not available
161Scalby NessEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA037911Not available
162Whitby to SaltwickEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCNZ901115Not available
937StonesfieldEnglandOxfordshireSP392172Not available
2354Hapsford BridgeEnglandSomersetST760495Not available
160Roseberry ToppingEnglandSouth TeesideNZ579126Not available
2355BroraScotlandCaithness and Sutherland and Ross and CromartyNC903030Not available
2351Culgower BayScotlandCaithness and Sutherland and Ross and CromartyNC991117Not available
2350Eathie Fishing StationScotlandCaithness and Sutherland and Ross and CromartyNH779635Not available
3321Lothbeg PointScotlandCaithness and Sutherland and Ross and CromartyNC962096Not available
2149Bearreraig RiverScotlandLochaber, Skye and Lochalsh and Argyll and the IslandsNG517525Not available
2353Cnap TwtWalesCARDIFF AND VALE OF GLAMORGANSS911753Not available
Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access. Search Again