What is a Geopark?

A Geopark is an area with an outstanding geological heritage and a strategy to promote that heritage for the benefit of the local community.

There are three geoparks in Scotland:

So what makes a geopark?

A geopark must contain several geological or geomorphological sites of national and international importance. These may be significant because of their scientific quality, rarity, aesthetic appeal or educational value. But geoparks are not just about rocks – they are also about people, and helping communities to understand their Earth heritage, and to benefit from it.An Sgurr, Eigg.

A geopark can include not only sites of geological importance, but also sites of archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural interest. A geopark territory must be large enough to allow for true economic development. Geoparks are driven by local communities that want to celebrate their Earth heritage and thereby achieve sustainable development of their area through ‘geotourism’.

A geopark must play an active role in the business of the European Geoparks Network (EGN). This involves collaborating with other geoparks on joint projects as well as exchanging ideas on how best to promote geopark activities. There are almost 60 geoparks in the EGN from over 20 European countries.

About Lochaber Geopark

Lochaber Geopark is famous for its spectacular scenery. Many geological features of national and international importance can be seen right across Lochaber – ranging from a deeply eroded volcano on Rum in the west, to the amazing Parallel Roads of Glen Roy in the east.

The outstanding quality of Lochaber’s Earth Heritage was officially recognised in April 2007 when Lochaber was awarded European and Global Geopark status. Lochaber Geopark left the networks in 2011 and are now in the process of reapplying.

“Lochaber Geopark is a community based organisation with the overall vision to ensure that the Lochaber area gains from its rich geological heritage.”

Lochaber Geopark Association Aims

  • Raise awareness of Lochaber’s outstanding geology and geomorphology, both locally and beyond the area.
  • Promote awareness and appreciation of the links between the geological heritage, the natural heritage, the cultural heritage, the landscape and land use in Lochaber.
  • Encourage and support the sensitive interpretation of Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage and support economic and social development based on Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage educational initiatives, training opportunities and research activities that relate to Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage and promote the sustainable use of geological resources in Lochaber.