Active landforms


Geological Conservation Review (GCR) sites are selected for, and grouped according to, GCR blocks, which are site-selection categories for nationally important Earth science sites.  There are around 100 'blocks' and about 3,000 GCR sites in Britain.  Each 'block' represents a particular geological age or Earth science theme, such as Marine Permian Stratigraphy, Jurassic–Cretaceous Reptilia, Caledonian Igneous Rocks and Quaternary of Scotland.
Geomorphology blocks cover the history and development of landforms and geomorphological processes active today, for example, rivers, coasts and landslides.  Unlike geological sites where processes can only be inferred, active geomorphological sites provide open-air laboratories where processes can be studied.
Because geomorphology influences landscape and habitat, there is great potential for integrating the physical and biological components of nature conservation in geomorphological sites.

Summary statistics

  A/SSSI Total
Favourable condition 86% 86%
Main monitoring coverage E, S, NI  
Reported assessments 225 225
Completeness of assessments approx.80%  
Distribution of features   UK

Number of assessments reported by country and site type

England 156
Scotland 57
Wales 0
Northern Ireland 12
United Kingdom 225

SSSI features

List of SSSI and ASSI interest features in this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported
Caves Caves 18
Coastal Geomorphology of England Coastal geomorphology of England 48
Coastal Geomorphology of Scotland Coastal geomorphology of Scotland 33
Coastal processes Coastal processes 6
Coastal processes 1
Fluvial geomorphology of England Fluvial geomorphology of England 33
Fluvial geomorphology of Scotland Fluvial geomorphology of Scotland 18
Karst Turloughs 1
Karst Karst 34
Mass movement Mass movement 21
Salt marsh geomorphology Salt marsh geomorphology 4
Tufa Tufa 8
This list has not been fully standardised at a UK level yet. It is intended to show the principal constituent "feature types" for this reporting category.

Maps - distribution

Distribution of reported interest features.

Map showing the locations of the 10km squares in which at least one condition assessment has been reported. It does not show features that have not yet been assessed.


Maps - SSSI

Current condition of SSSI/ASSI features
Distribution of SSSI/ASSI features showing assessments of favourability (where unfavourable-recovering is counted as unfavourable).
Condition of SSSI/ASSI features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
The implication of the unfavourable-recovering condition assessments is that at some point in the future these features should become favourable. This map shows the effect of that recovery by counting the favourable and unfavourable-recovering assessments together.


IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not have information on the timescale of the predicted recovery, which may be influenced by many past, natural and human related factors. A sustained sympathetic management regime is more likely to result in favourable condition being attained.

Key: Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable:


Details of how these maps were produced


Condition summary

This lists the 10 different condition assessments and presents a bar chart showing the number of features within the SSSI series. Note that we are unable to estimate the total number of SSSI/ASSI features because we do not have an overall list of notified interest features for these designations.


NB favourable unclassified and unfavourable unclassified have been used in this first six year cycle to get around difficulties in identifying trends in condition as common standards monitoring is implemented. It is expected that these categories will not be used for subsequent assessments of a feature.


Condition assessment - SSSI features

The number and proportion of assessments for SSSI/ASSI interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the �unfavourable� category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except �unfavourable recovering� which is shown as a separate segment.

Adverse activities

The number of interest features where an activity has been reported as being implicated in the "unfavourable" condition of a feature. More than one adverse activity may be reported for each feature.

Management measures

For each "measure" the chart shows the number of interest features where that measure has been taken on a site to improve or maintain the condition of an interest feature. More than one measure may be reported for each feature assessed.


Approximately two-thirds of sites with active geomorphological features are accounted for in the report, and of these, 86% (including caves and karst features, and fluvial and coastal geomorphology) are in favourable condition.  This is about the average for geological features and well above the average for all features combined.  4% of features reported are unfavourable-recovering.
The data are, however, too sparse to detect any trends in the reasons for unfavourable condition.  Active geomorphology sites are typically complex, dynamic environments, are often large in size, and continue to prove to be one of the most difficult types of site to monitor.

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