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Irish and UK UNESCO Global Geoparks

Geoparks are areas of exceptional geological significance that promote awareness of the earth’s geological heritage. They foster respect for the environment and for the integrity of natural landscapes.

Irelands UNESCO Global Geoparks

Ireland has three Geoparks: The Cuilcagh Lakelands UNSESCO Global Geopark, The Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, and the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the island of Ireland, straddling the border between counties Fermanagh and Cavan, the first Transnational Geopark in the world allows visitors to appreciate the best of what this unspoilt border region has to offer. The Geopark includes a wide variety of sites of interest in a swathe of countryside extending from the northern shores of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh to the southern shores of Lough Oughter in County Cavan. Whether you’re searching for a tranquil spot to do some big thinking, or maybe you’re in search of an exciting adventure, exploring mountains and caves, Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark has something for everyone.

Cuilcagh Lakelands Landscape photograph

Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark

The Copper Coast Geopark is in Co. Waterford, Ireland and is an outdoor museum of geological records; it stretches along the coast from Kilfarassy Beach, near Fenor in the east to Ballyvoile Beach near Stradbally to the west. Volcanoes, oceans, deserts and ice sheets all combined to create the rocks which provide the physical foundation of the natural and cultural landscapes of the area. Follow the self-guided “Copper Coast” trail and walking cards available from the The Copper Coast Geopark Centre in Bunmahon.

Copper Coast landscape photograph

Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark supports people and organisations to work together to ensure a cared-for landscape, a better understood heritage, more sustainable tourism, a vibrant community and strengthened livelihoods.

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is in Co. Clare in the West of Ireland. It covers an area of 530 square kms. Its boundary is marked to the West and North by the Atlantic coast, then runs South along the Clare county border to the village of Tubber and Westwards by the villages of Corofin, Kilfenora, Lisdoonvarna on to the Cliffs of Moher.

The burren and Cliffs of Moher Cliffs landscape photograph

The UKs UNESCO Global Geoparks

The UK has nine UNESCO Global Geoparks: Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark, GeoMôn UNESCO Global Geopark, North Pennines UNESCO Global Geopark, North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark, Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark and Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCo Global Geopark. Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark is also a UK UNESCO Global Geopark and covered above.

Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark

The Black Country played a major role in the creation of the modern world. It was here that the Industrial Revolution was at its most intense. It is a unique place, packed with incredible and surprising heritage features and colourful stories to be discovered. The geology here is very rich in industrial minerals. Limestone, ironstone, fireclay, coal and other industrial minerals provided the ingredients to make iron and paved the way for an intense and very early part of the so-called Industrial Revolution to begin here.

English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark

Home to the Kents Cavern jawbone, the oldest modern human fossil in North West Europe and situated within the stunning, rolling hills of South Devon, Torbay’s geology has created a beautiful coastline, linking the rich diversity of the landscape with its wildlife, people and culture.

English Riviera landscape photograph

Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark

A swathe of upland country which forms the western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is a cracked and crumpled layer-cake of rocks, 480 million years in the making, a landscape sculpted by ice then transformed by man and a witness to the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

Fforest Fawr landscape photograpgh

GeoMôn UNESCO Global Geopark

The tectonic island of Anglesey includes more than a hundred different rock types and the oldest fossils in England or Wales within 1,800 million years of Earth’s history., GeoMon is the United Kingdom’s most geologically diverse Global Geopark. Such is the variety of shapes and types of rock, that visitors and locals alike cannot but marvel at the magnificent colours and structures visible around the coast of the Welsh Global Geopark.

GeoMon landscape photograpgh

North Pennines UNESCO Global Geopark

The North Pennines landscape has been 500 million years in the making and reveals a story of tropical seas, vast deltas and deserts, huge ice sheets and continents on the move, alongside a world-class mineral and mining heritage. In recognition of its unique qualities, the North Pennines has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as a European and Global Geopark – highlighting its globally important Earth heritage.

North Pennines foothills landscape photograph

North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark

Located in the far north of the Scottish Highlands, the Global Geopark is home to the oldest rocks in the United Kingdom. Their Lewisian gneiss is over 3 billion years old! The eastern boundary of the Global Geopark extends beyond the settlement of Durness and Loch Eriboll to follow the Moine Thrust Zone, an internationally significant geological structure that helped 19th-century geologists determine how the world’s great mountain ranges were formed.

North west Highlands landscape photograph

Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark

From the highest sheer cliffs in Britain to the best ‘hands on’ exposure of the Great Glen Fault, Shetland is packed with incredibly varied geology spanning almost 3 billion years. Where else can you walk on an ancient ocean floor, explore an extinct volcano and stroll across shifting sands in the space of a day.

Shetland Landscape photograph