GCR block - Palaeozoic Palaeobotany (PAZ-PALBOT)

Palaeozoic Palaeobotany

Block Description

UK map showing distribution of GCR sites of GCR block PAZ-PALBOT
Distribution of GCR sites of GCR block Palaeozoic 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 Palaeozoic Palaeobotany GCR Block represent the British fossil record of vascular land plants during the Palaeozoic Era (which spanned from 540 to 230 million years ago (Ma)). This, the first 200 million years of land-plant history, was a time of major evolution and diversification of plants, as they adapted to, and radiated into, terrestrial habitats. At the end of the Permian Period (= end of Palaeozoic Era) a significant, global, mass extinction took place, enabling this ‘unit’ of the fossil record to have a characteristic floral distinctiveness.

Later fossil plants are afforded their own GCR Blocks, ‘Mesozoic Palaeobotany’ and ‘Tertiary Palaeobotany’. See MES-PALBOT and TER-PALBOT.

Palaeontological characteristics

The Palaeozoic Era was a time of major evolution and diversification of plants, since most of the major morphological and anatomical strategies that allowed plants to take advantage of the terrestrial habitats appeared at this time as they adapted from aquatic to terrestrial habitats. The new habitats were not yet populated by animals, and were harsh and inhospitable. Nevertheless, 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). Towards the end of the Palaeozoic Era (250 million years ago), a traumatic episode beset land plants and many of the previously dominant forms became extinct. 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.


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 Silurian Period can be found elsewhere on the pages of this website. See DIN-DV-CW; DIN-N-E-WL; DIN-S-E-WL; DIN-SC; MAR-DEV, NMAR-DEV; MAR-PER; NAM-E-WL; PER-TRI;

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 as follows:

• British Silurian palaeobotany

• British Devonian palaeobotany

• British Lower Carboniferous palaeobotany

• British Upper Carboniferous palaeobotany

• British Permian palaeobotany.

Volume Introduction

Palaeozoic Palaeobotany

Site List

Your selection found 44 GCR sites. Sites are sorted alphabetically by country, local authority and then by site name -
CodeNameCountryLocal AuthorityGrid RefGCR Site Account
2854Nostell Priory BrickpitEnglandCalderdale, Kirklees and WakefieldSE403170Not available
362Plaistow QuarryEnglandDevon CCSS568373Not available
302Middridge QuarryEnglandDurham CCNZ252252Not available
2387Jockie's SykeEnglandEast CumbriaNY424756Not available
860KingwaterEnglandEast CumbriaNY608697Not available
646Puddlebrook QuarryEnglandGloucestershireSO646183Not available
32Perton Lane SectionEnglandHerefordshire, County ofSO597403Not available
387Rockhall QuarryEnglandHerefordshire, County ofSO423655Not available
2386Cattybrook BrickpitEnglandNorth and North East Somerset, South GloucestershireST592834Not available
2852Wadsley Fossil ForestEnglandSheffieldSK318913Not available
433Targrove QuarryEnglandShropshire CCSO525779Not available
298Kimberley Railway CuttingEnglandSouth NottinghamshireSK506454Not available
47Rhynie Chert LocalityScotlandAberdeen City and AberdeenshireNJ494277Not available
91Turin Hill QuarriesScotlandAngus and Dundee CityNO493523Not available
1107Wardie ShoreScotlandCity of EdinburghNT242771Not available
2853Kingswood EndScotlandClackmannanshire and FifeNT253864Not available
856PettycurScotlandClackmannanshire and FifeNT261862Not available
859GlencartholmScotlandDumfries and GallowayNY376796Not available
90Auchensail QuarryScotlandEast and West Dumbartonshire, Helensburgh and LomondNS342798Not available
2157GlenarbuckScotlandEast and West Dumbartonshire, Helensburgh and LomondNS452747Not available
855Loch Humphrey BurnScotlandEast and West Dumbartonshire, Helensburgh and LomondNS467754Not available
2389Dunaskin GlenScotlandEast Ayrshire and North Ayrshire MainlandNS454088Not available
858LagganScotlandEast Ayrshire and North Ayrshire MainlandNR986504Not available
1207StairhillScotlandEast Ayrshire and North Ayrshire MainlandNS452242Not available
365Oxroad BayScotlandEast Lothian and MidlothianNT599848Not available
857Weak LawScotlandEast Lothian and MidlothianNT499858Not available
3043Victoria ParkScotlandGlasgow CityNS541673Not available
389Lennel BraesScotlandNorthumberlandNT857411Not available
92Bay of SkaillScotlandOrkney IslandsHY229197Not available
390Ballanucater FarmScotlandPerth and Kinross and StirlingNN630022Not available
360SloagarScotlandShetland IslandsHZ227725Not available
386Whiteadder RiverScotlandThe Scottish BordersNT787568Not available
313Moel Hiraddug QuarriesWalesCONWY AND DENBIGHSHIRESJ061783Not available
30Pen-y-Glog QuarryWalesCONWY AND DENBIGHSHIRESJ108423Not available
3343BrymboWalesFLINTSHIRE AND WREXHAMSJ295534Not available
314Teilia QuarryWalesFLINTSHIRE AND WREXHAMSJ079813Not available
1774Llanbradach QuarryWalesGWENT VALLEYSST146895Not available
38Llanover QuarryWalesMONMOUTHSHIRE AND NEWPORTSO297079Not available
34Capel Horeb QuarryWalesPOWYSSN844323Not available
35Craig-y-Fro QuarryWalesPOWYSSN971208Not available
36Cwm Craig Ddu QuarryWalesPOWYSSN962474Not available
366Llangammarch Wells QuarryWalesPOWYSSN937472Not available
2388Nant Llech Plant BedsWalesPOWYSSN836123Not available
43Freshwater EastWalesSOUTH WEST WALESSS022981Not 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