Global Network of National Geoparks

Building the 'Devonian coral coast' (Torbay, UK)

Published :March 25, 2008
D. Acland1, N. Powe2, J. Risdon3 , M. Border1 & K. Page4
1Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Cocking ton Court, Torbay, TQ2 6XA, England, UK
2Kents Cavern Ltd., llsham Road, Torquay, TQ1 2JF, England, UK
348 Stoke Gabriel Road, Gaimpton, Brixham, TQ5 0NQ, England, and UK
4SEOES, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, England, UK

Keywords: Geopark, Torbay, Devonian, tourism, partnership

The Torbay district of south-east Devon (UK) has a rich and well-exposed geological heritage, from Devonian reefs to Pleistocene bone-caves. This geology has strong links to the history of the science and culture, not least as Torbay includes sites crucial to the initial characterization of the Devonian Period. The area also includes one of the highest concentrations of protected geological sites in the UK with 11 nationally protected sites ('SSSls') and 15 regionally important sites ('RIGS'). Remarkably for the UK, a single organization, the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, has direct responsibility for the management of the majority of these sites, as well as a range of education and community functions linked to the sustainable use of Torbay's natural heritage in the area. The unique combination of a superb geological resource, existing tourism facilities, an innovative conservation trust with well-developed partnerships with public, private and voluntary sectors, makes Torbay well placed to develop a dynamic and successful geopark, promoting geological heritage and sustainable development for the 21st Century. This presentation will discuss the local political and management issues faced when developing a Geopark in the context of European and INESCO guidelines.