West Lothian Geodiversity. Volumes 1 - 3

Barron, H.F.; Browne, M.A.E.; Finlayson, A.. 2006 West Lothian Geodiversity. Volumes 1 - 3. British Geological Survey, 214pp. (CR/06/008N) (Unpublished)

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For its size, Scotland has the most varied geology, natural landscapes and landforms of any country on the planet. This variety, or geodiversity, has resulted in the dramatically different landscapes we see in Scotland today. Although not as striking as some of the iconic landscapes in other parts of Scotland, West Lothian’s Carboniferous bedrock and cover of glacial deposits nevertheless exhibit a large variety of rock types, structures, fossils, processes, soils and landforms set within a varied landscape. This report describes a geodiversity audit of West Lothian – the first to be conducted in Scotland. It was undertaken as a means of informing the framing of recommendations and action points designed to guide the sustainable management, planning, conservation and interpretation of all aspects of the Earth heritage of West Lothian. The audit was not intended to be comprehensive survey of all potential geodiversity sites in West Lothian, but rather an evaluation of a representative selection of sites and features of geological and landscape importance. The audit was conducted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) in partnership with West Lothian Council (WLC), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Lothian and Borders RIGS Group (LaBRIGS). A database of 204 potential geodiversity sites for the West Lothian area was compiled from the geological literature, BGS staff expertise and information from LaBRIGS Group. This database was used to target sites for geodiversity field auditing, which took place between August and December 2005. Information on soils was obtained from the Macaulay 1:25,000 digital soil data and the joint WLC and SNH document on Soil sustainability in West Lothian. Data on designated sites was obtained from SNH, JNCC and Lothian Wildlife Information Centre; habitats and landscape data from WLC; archaeology from Historic Scotland and West of Scotland Archaeology Service. During the field work, 86 sites were visited and information recorded on site ownership, access, fragility, geological merit, potential use and relevance to other interests, at local, regional, national and international level. This information was then entered in the BGS GeoDiversitY database, designed specifically for geodiversity auditing. Details of a further 36 sites which were not visited, but are potentially significant, were also added, giving a total of 122 sites and features of potential geological and landscape importance in West Lothian. From this list of 122 sites, 51 were selected as being representative of particular geodiversity features in the context of West Lothian and are classed as West Lothian Geodiversity Sites (WLGSs). Of these 51 sites, four are currently protected nationally as SSSIs and six protected locally as RIGS. The new WLGSs expand this list of important sites to provide much better geodiversity coverage at the local level. A draft West Lothian Geodiversity Action Plan (WLGAP) is presented. The main objectives of this plan are: to ‘embed’ geodiversity into future planning, management and interpretation policies; to recommend strategies for continued monitoring of WLGSs; and to increase overall awareness, understanding and appreciation of West Lothian’s geodiversity.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Geology and Landscape Northern
Funders/Sponsors: NERC, Scottish Executive
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Contributors: S L B Arkley, S M Clarke, A Matthewson, A Pickering, K I G Lawrie and E K Hyslop. This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed.
Additional Keywords: Geodiversity
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 08 Jun 2009 14:45 +0 (UTC)

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