The North Pennines is a beautiful upland area in the north of England. It is a place of wild moors, remote fells, green dales and scattered settlements. Stretching across 2,000km2 of the counties of Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria, it is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Much of this landscape is made up of layers of fossil-rich limestone, shale and sandstone which formed between 350 and 300 million years ago when the North Pennines lay near the equator. Another special feature is the Whin Sill – the original sill of geological science. Once molten rock underground, it now stands out as dramatic dolerite or ‘whinstone’ cliffs and waterfalls.
The North Pennines is world-famous for its mineral veins which cut through the hills. Centuries of mining for lead ore and other minerals have left a legacy of settlements, shafts and spoil heaps, and a ‘miner-farmer’ landscape.
At the western edge of the North Pennines the landscape is very different. Slates and volcanic rocks, up to 480 million years old, are exposed in conical hills or ‘pikes’ which lie next to red sandstones which formed in deserts around 250 million years ago.
Glacial landforms and deposits from the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago also have a big impact on the landscape. Today the North Pennines is characterised by flat-topped hills, blanket peat bogs, rare flora and fauna and upland farming.
City / Region
Number of Geosites
Enjoy the most beautiful landscapes and the most emblematic geosites in these unique and special territories.
The Geosites are locals of geological interest that represent the existing geodiversity and have a high educational, tourist and/or scientific level.
The geodiversity is present in the landscapes, that are the cradle for all the existing biodiversity in these territories.
Weardale Mining / Farming Landscape
A leandscape of hills and streams characterised by its history of farming, mining and
Sweeping landscapes and rocky crags influenced by the presence of the Whin Sill and shaped by
Uses and Customs
Geoparks are territories with a strong cultural and ethnological identity, which are represented by their customs and traditions. These customs and traditions have gained relevance throughout the centuries and became inseparable from the present and history of this regions and its people.
The experiences that geoparks provide, trigger authentic experiences and unforgettable emotions.
Killhope Lead Mining Museum
Tours of a historic mine and surviving buldings with displays on local mining history, with a
Museums / Interpretative Centre
Museums gather collections that allow us to better understand our existence and everything related to it. They are privileged spaces that tell us about the history of the Earth and life.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
Located on the west coast of Ireland, the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark has an area of 530 km2, it is bounded by Atlantic
Azores UNESCO Global Geopark
The Azores UNESCO Global Geopark has a rich geodiversity and an important geological heritage, based on a network of 121 geosites dispersed by the
Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark
The Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark covers the western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park Designated a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015,