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Bucks Geology Group

Geological Conservation

Volunteers cutting vegetation at Taplow Pit in 2008. Volunteers record sediments at Burnham Beeches Volunteers construct gabions at Bugle Pit in 2012.

How can you help?

Just by joining your membership fee will add funds to aid our conservation work!

But if you want to do more then just join us on one of our work days. These are fun and not too demanding, you can do as much or as little as you like. For instance, simply clearing the face of some ivy, brambles or other vegetation is a common activity. You just need to be handy with a pair of secateurs.
Activities are always led by a committee member and often associated with a picnic, BBQ or cafe lunch depending on the time of year. They are always fun plus a useful way of keeping fit. Why pay for an expensive gym membership to get a tedious form of exercise, when you can do something useful with us, and that is also enjoyable!

Why is Geological Conservation Important?

Geology is present in every aspect of our lives - from the landscape we live on to the houses we live in. The food we eat depends on the soils which are derived from the underlying rock. Our water resources are controlled by geology. Where settlements, farming and industry have been possible in the past all intimately depend on the local rocks and landscapes. Yet when we think of 'conservation' we tend to immediately consider only the biological side of this subject - despite the natural flora and fauna depending on their geological environment! In short, the variety of geology underpins the variety of life - the immense richness of our ecosystems is derived from rocks, soils and climate (past and present).
Just like the more commonly used term 'biodiversity' is used to describe our heritage of plants and animals, the term 'geodiversity' is used to describe the very rich heritage of rocks, fossils, minerals and natural processes that have developed our landscape and soils.
Every county in Britain is unique in its geological resource and its historical use of that resource. Even within any individual county the geology can change dramatically in a very short distance. Consider Bucks with its younger southern end of Tertiary age spanning 130 million years through the Cretaceous to the Liassic beds of the Jurassic rocks in the north, with a good helping of Quaternary (Ice Age) deposits spread over the top - like icing on a cake.

Denner Hill stone (a type of sarsen stone) being quarried in 1905. This stone has no in situ outcrop today - geologists would love to see this rock in place, as it will shed light on the age and stratigraphic relations. (Photograph from the Bucks County Museum archives.)

But are rocks and landscapes at risk? For many people it is hard to imagine that rocks that have been present for millions of years are in danger of disappearing. However, there are a significant number of threats to both rocks and landscapes - from natural and man-made pressures. The recent loss of geological sites in Bucks has reached crisis point largely through landfill, major construction work (roads and buildings) and the re-landscaping which is geologically insensitive.

Gayhurst Quarry near Newport Pagnell. This is all that was left of the glacial sands and gravels in 1999. No exposures exist today.

The Bucks Geology Group aims to both enjoy and to help conserve and record the County's geology. It does this under the Local Geological Sites (LGS) scheme and recently also undertook a trial in recording and giving a value to sites under the LGAP audit (LGAP stands for Local Geodiversity Action Plan - see the links above for more information on these).

BGG Contact : Mike Palmer (

page last updated: 28th March 2024

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