Postcard geology

Discovering Geology — Maps and resources

BGS staff share some of their favourite sites of geological interest near our offices and around the UK.


Alabaster at Penarth Head

Alabaster from Penarth in Wales is a decorative stone used inside many buildings in the area. Find out more about its origin.

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Geology of Arthur’s Seat

A short walk around Holyrood Park provides an insight into the geological history of area from the Carboniferous Period to now.

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Ballard Down headland from Swanage

Ballard Down, Dorset

To the north of the Swanage Bay is a prominent headland, which is a major Cretaceous Chalk Group exposure called Ballard Down.

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BGS Wales office, Cardiff

Learn more about the interesting geological stories waiting to be unearthed just a stone’s throw from our Welsh office.

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The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Hexagonal blocks of brownish grey rock in the foregroud, with seain the biddle ground and a high cliffs of basailt columns and green grass in the background.

The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast

The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast form Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, formed 60 million years ago.

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Ham Hill, Somerset

The distinctive, warm honey-coloured building stone known as Hamstone, quarried from Ham Hill in Somerset, has a long history of use dating back as far as Roman times.

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Holbeck Hall Landslide - BGS

Holbeck Hall landslide, Scarborough

A series of active landslides stretch several kilometres in the cliffs to the south of Scarborough.

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Howell Quarry

Holwell Nature Reserve

Holwell Nature Reserve can be found near Melton Mowbray. Most of the rocks exposed are composed of sedimentary rocks from the Jurassic.

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Close up of Maharaja's well head

Maharaja’s Well

The story of the Maharaja’s Well is not just cultural but is intimately bound up with the geology of the Chilterns Hills.

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Mam Tor, Derbyshire

Mam Tor, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, is an iconic hill formed from rocks that date to the Carboniferous, when Britain sat near the equator and enjoyed tropical weather conditions.

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Mercia Mudstone outcrop

Mercia Mudstone, Clifton Village, Nottingham

The river cliff beneath Clifton Village has excellent exposure of Mercia Mudstone, a blocky red mud rock with layers of fine green sand and mudstones.

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Crossbedding in the entrance to Park Tunnel, Nottingham Castle.

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle sits atop an outcrop of the Sherwood Sandstone Group, which also hosts the myriad tunnels and caves for which the city is known.

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Reykjanes peninsular in Iceland

Reykjanes peninsula

Andrew McKenzie shares his experience of visiting the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland and witnessing some spectacular volcanic activity.

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Seaton Cliffs Nature Trail

Seaton Cliffs Nature Trail, Arbroath

The Seaton Cliffs Nature Trail boasts over 40 landmarks, consisting of caves, coves and bays, spectacular views over the North Sea and ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife.

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Scarborough Castle headland


The Yorkshire coastal town of Scarborough sits on rocks from the Jurassic.

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Lathkill Dale looking east

Upper Lathkill Dale and Ricklow Quarry

Ricklow Quarry is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and contains some of the best outcrops of Gigantoproductus fossils in the UK

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Discovering Geology

Discovering Geology introduces a range of geoscience topics to school-age students and learners of all ages.

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Maps and resources

Download and print free educational resources.

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Colour in Geology map


Explore or download a range of free-to-view, BGS maps to help you explore the rocks around you and learn more about geological time and climate change.

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