Who we are

The Greater Manchester RIGS Group was set up in 2004 to continue the work started in the 1970s by Manchester Museum staff as part of a national museum initiative to record local examples of geological importance. Most of the people currently involved are members of the Manchester Geological Association (MGA). The MGA has supported GMRIGS both financially and with geological expertise, as have other geoconservation organisations, including Natural England and the British Geological Survey.

The GMRIGS operates the RIGS register from within the offices of the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU).

GMRIGS is also a member of Geoconservation UK (formerly UKRIGS), the body which coordinates and represents local RIGS groups nationally. The GeoConservationUK mission statement:

“The Association will encourage the appreciation, conservation and promotion of Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites for education and public benefit.”

The selection and designation process relies on significant amounts of volunteer effort. Volunteers can bring important local knowledge and connections to the group. If this sort of activity is of interest to you and you would like to take part please contact us for further details. No previous knowledge of geology is required.

What we do

We have over 700 site records, created in the 1970s which are systematically being revisited. Each site, if it still exists, is assessed using UK RIGS criteria to see whether it should be designated as a RIGS to represent the geodiversity in Greater Manchester. If it is, a report is submitted to the relevant local authority for approval and then the site is added to the planning database. If at some later date a development is planned for that area, the value of the RIGS site affected will be considered by the planners when making their decisions.

Our role is to:

  • Agree the basis for site selection;
  • Co-ordinate site selection procedures including survey and identification of candidate sites;
  • Actively promote and support site management;
  • Co-ordinate funding provision and/or identify and promote the taking up of funding opportunities;
  • Promote educational use where appropriate;
  • Establish a process for monitoring the condition of the selected sites;
  • Review the operation of the local sites system at suitable intervals;
  • Promote the role and importance of local sites at a strategic level; and promote the enhancement of sites through buffering and increasing connectivity.

Voluntary workers are involved in the following tasks:

  • The recording of sites (both in the field and on computer recording packages);
  • Helping to protect them through the planning system (this could include anything from submitting a planning report to commenting on a damaging planning proposal);
  • Undertaking practical site conservation tasks (such as cleaning an interesting quarry face from debris and helping with improved access and safety);
  • Getting involved in raising public awareness (this could include helping to produce a geological trail or interpretation board); or
  • Attending some of the meetings and attending and helping at events.

The only experience that is essential is an interest in geology and landscape and in its conservation.