See all stories
24 Oct 2022

Protecting our geodiversity and geoheritage

A view of a deep cave in a cliff, seen from the sea on a sunny day. The cliffs have remarkable basalt columns.
The cliffs, caves and basalt columns of Staffa
Our new geodiversity policy sets out how we will continue to care, share and speak up for Scotland’s magnificent geodiversity and geoheritage.

The Trust owns many sites of geological importance, including the stacks at Staffa National Nature Reserve, the landscapes of Torridon and Glencoe, and Hugh Miller’s Birthplace, Cottage & Museum – as well as Corrieshalloch Gorge, Falls of Glomach, Killiecrankie, Goatfell, St Abb’s Head, Grey Mare’s Tail, Canna and Mar Lodge Estate.

The geodiversity and geoheritage of these sites provide us with many benefits such as a sense of place, community identity, opportunity to enhance health and wellbeing, and economic returns through being large tourism draws and supporting rural economies.

We will continue to ensure geodiversity and geoheritage are protected by campaigning to secure better protections in the planning system. Significant gaps exist in the planning system to protect geodiversity both on land and sea. Many protections that currently exist are not mandatory, meaning they can be overlooked by planning authorities.

The Trust will contribute to developing better understanding and conservation of Scotland’s geodiversity, through public regulations, such as the planning system or the forthcoming Environment Act, and how land uses are incentivised through public funding.

The Trust will also continue to protect Scotland’s geodiversity and geoheritage through our membership of Scotland’s Landscape Alliance, of which we are a founding member. The Alliance promotes the importance of Scotland’s landscapes in relation to climate resilience, biodiversity enhancement, Scotland’s economy, and public health and wellbeing. We are also a signatory of Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter which commits the Trust to maintaining, promoting and enhancing geodiversity as an integral part of Scotland’s natural heritage.

Find out more about Scotland’s Landscape Alliance

In our management of our sites we will always adhere to and promote the Scottish Fossil Code, Scottish Outdoor Access Code, the Ethical Rock Collection Policy and the Scottish Core Code. We operate a minimum interventionist approach by adopting management practices that allow natural processes to occur.

A range of fossils are displayed on a dark felt mat on a table in a museum.
Fossils on display at Hugh Miller’s Birthplace

A key strand of our policy is engagement. We are committed to engaging people to experience and value our geodiversity and geoheritage. Through our new 10-year strategy Nature, Beauty and Heritage for Everyone we are building a new visitor centre at Corrieshalloch Gorge which will offer visitors a way to further engage with this unique geological place. And Hugh Miller’s Birthplace puts on storytelling sessions and walks, has created downloadable fossil colouring sheets for children and welcomes school visits.

Our sites are fundamental parts of Scotland’s geodiversity and geoheritage. We hope to see you at one soon!

Read more about the Trust’s geodiversity policy and geoconservation work


Download the pdf to read the policy in full