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Shetland Geopark

Exceptional and accessible
From the highest sheer cliffs in Britain to the best ‘hands on’ exposure of the Great Glen Fault, Shetland is packed with an incredibly varied geology spanning almost 3 billion years.

Where else can you walk on an ancient ocean floor, explore an extinct volcano and stroll across shifting sands all in the space of a day? Along the way you will discover some of the most stunning scenery in the UK and find out how our geology has influenced every part of life in Shetland.

Across the world in 3 billion years....
Shetland has been on an incredible geological journey, from close to the South Pole across the equator to its current position at the crossroads of the North Atlantic. Through this time the climate and landscape have changed dramatically to what you see today.
A force of nature

Shetland's geology has influenced every aspect of life in the isles and created landscapes which have provided a home for a unique biodiversity. The geology and landscapes have also influenced human settlements and activities. In fact, they have been so instrumental to man that Shetland place names often reflect these features.

Due to the lack of trees and abundance of stone, Shetland has some of the best preserved archaeology in Europe, including evidence of man's use of rocks as resources from earliest times. Geology has also been instrumental in the development of Shetland's industries, both onshore and offshore.

Find out more about our geology and the influence it has had on life in Shetland by clicking on the relevant subject in the menu to the left.

Discover ocean floors, volcanoes and shifting sands in a day!..........

9am - Walk on an ocean floor: Unst is an open air museum of oceanic rocks. At the Keen of Hamar National Nature Reserve you can walk across a landscape little changed in 12,000 years and discover a plant found nowhere else in the world.

1pm - Explore an ancient volcano: At Eshaness you can see the best section through the side of a volcano in the UK. Take the volcano trail to discover more about Shetland’s volcanic past and witness the destructive force of the powerful Atlantic Ocean.

5pm - Stroll across shifting sands: St Ninian’s is one of the finest sand tombolos in Europe, and the largest active tombolo in the UK. Stroll across the sands to St Ninian’s Isle and visit the chapel where the famous Pictish Treasure was found.