GCR Database

Background to the GCR database


The information in the GCR database is the product of over two decades of site evaluation and documentation. It contains an inventory of over 3000 GCR sites, selected for around 100 categories (the GCR 'Blocks') encompassing the range of geological and geomorphological features of Britain.


JNCC is responsible for the upkeep and accuracy of GCR site data, and the country conservation agencies (Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England (Formally English Nature), and Scottish Natural Heritage) are responsible for advising JNCC of the links between GCR sites and SSSIs. Information about SSSIs is managed separately by the country conservation agencies.


Each site record has a single grid reference in the database, intended to help locate the localities on distribution maps. For sites of a linear nature (for example, a length of coast) the grid reference provided is typically one extremity. Some sites covering a wide area are referenced by a centroid. Site boundaries are not included in the database.


Full detailed accounts of the sites are published in the volumes of the Geological Conservation Review Series and this information is gradually being made available, in full, via this database.  In fact many GCR site reports (as published [they have not been modified subsequent to initial publication but simply reproduced here in digital form]) appear here.


Many GCR sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access. Prior consent for visits should always be obtained from the landowner and/or occupier via the relevant country conservation agency.


Block definitions


The 'Block' definitions provided in the database and reproduced here are based largely on existing GCR publications, where available. They are under development and will be enhanced and refined as new GCR publications are produced. In terms of the geological ages assigned to events and intervals of time in millions of years (Ma) as described in these definitions, it should be pointed out that although the names and sequences of chronostratigraphical units and geological time intervals are agreed by international standards, the 'absolute dating' of the boundaries continues to undergo revision, as new and/or more accurate methods of dating are employed. The dating of younger units is generally more secure. Therefore ages provided in the Block definitions are provided to help assist users, and are principally those as published by The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS, part of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).


Updating the GCR Database


To maintain an up-to-date GCR database of Britain's best Earth geological and geomorphological science sites, which ensures that the GCR retains its scientific credibility as a 'benchmark' for quality, and to ensure that the highlights of British geology continue to be conserved, it is important that the GCR daabase of sites is not static. Increased or hitherto unrecognized significance may be seen in new sites. Indeed, new sites continue to be proposed for the GCR lists and are accepted or rejected following consideration of conservation value, and detailed assessment and independent refereeing.


After over two decades of site evaluation and documentation, we now have an inventory of over 3000 GCR sites, selected for around 100 categories (the GCR 'Blocks') encompassing the range of geological and geomorphological features of Britain. In addition to the publication of detailed site reports in the 45-volume Geological Conservation Review Series, JNCC has established an electronic database of basic GCR site information.


Navigating the GCR database


To navigate the information in the database you may:

  • Search for a GCR site by name or
    • List sites by local authority, GCR block or choose a site from a list on the search page
    • Click on a 100 x 100 km square on the UK map to list sites geographically


    If you have any comments about the database please contact: