An important legacy of the mining industry is the large number of abandoned mine workings and spoil tips scattered throughout the region, and many of these are of great scientific importance.Sites of mineralogical importance fall into two groups:
• Firstly, there are Geological Conservation Review (GCR)
sites which are notified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest
on account mainly of their research potential and are protected by law under by the Wildlife and Countryside Act as substituted by Schedule 9 to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000;
• Secondly, there are Regionally Important Geodiversity Sites (RIGS)
which are selected on account of their educational, scientific, aesthetic or historical qualities.
• Unlike SSSI, RIGS
are not protected by law but rely rather on sympathetic and sensitive site management by the landowners and occupiers.
• The GCR
is an on-going project that was initiated by the former Nature Conservancy Council to identify those geological and geomorphological sites in the UK deemed to be of Special Scientific Importance.
• The network of mineralogical GCR
sites in Central Wales was subsequently re-evaluated through the MINESCAN
project undertaken on behalf of the Countryside Council for Wales by the National Museums and Galleries of Wales during 1996/1997.
• A total of 10 GCR
sites were identified in the orefield, which cover a range of geological interests including primary and secondary mineralogy, as well as textural characteristics of the mineralization. Most of these sites have been notified as SSSI
• In addition, a total of 36 RIGS
were identified in the orefield covering a similar range of mineralogical interests as the GCR
network but also including sites that demonstrate key aspects of the industrial and environmental legacy.
• Work is currently underway by the Central Wales RIGS Group (CWRG)
to document the RIGS
and to notify landowners and the Planning Authority about the special geological interest of these sites.
For more information please see the Central Wales RIGS Group