Geodiversity | Oxfordshire County Council


Information on the geodiversity of Oxfordshire.

Rock strata.  Copyright © 2011 The Geology Trusts - all rights reserved.

Geodiversity is a term used to describe the extensive varieties of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils and landforms and the natural processes that shape the landscape we live in. Geology provides opportunities for scientific education as well as training, recreation and enjoyment.

The geology of Oxfordshire comprises a series of rocks of Jurassic and Cretaceous age that are gently tilted to the south-east, so that the oldest rocks occur in the north-west and the youngest in the south-east. More information is available on the Oxford Geology Trust website and Natural England website.

Geodiversity mapGeodiversity key

Map of Oxfordshire's geodiversity


Protected geology sites

Some sites are recognised nationally and internationally for their scientific, educational, historic and aesthetic value and are protected from harmful development by legislation and planning policy. There are 31 geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and 45 Local Geology Sites in Oxfordshire.

Natural England is responsible for the protection and management of geological SSSIs. Local Geology Sites (formerly known as RIGS - Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites) are designated by the Oxfordshire Geology Trust, who monitor, assess and conserve them. Further information is available from the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC).

Geology and mineral extraction

Mineral extraction and restoration of sites can result in interesting geological features being exposed. When this happens, we encourage developers to incorporate geodiversity into restoration schemes, such as allowing important geological faces to be left exposed and enabling access for local groups to view them.

Oxfordshire Geology Trust (OGT)

Oxfordshire Geology Trust (formerly Oxfordshire RIGS Group) was launched in 2000. They are a non-profit making organisation with two main aims: To protect and conserve geological sites and our landscape, and to raise awareness of the county's rich and varied earth heritage and geology.

In addition to project work, OGT organise an on-going programme of events for their members, the general public and special interest groups to promote our earth heritage. Activities include guided walks, special interest days, fossil hunts, presentations, practical days, workshops and training sessions. For more information, please visit the Oxfordshire Geology Trust website.

Last reviewed
04 January 2016
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