Slate quarries land Unesco nomination
ALARGE swathe of Gwynedd which “roofed the 19th Century world” could become a World Heritage site.
The ‘slate landscape’ of the county, which is made up of former slate quarries and infrastructure throughout the area, will be the UK’s next preferred nomination for Unesco World Heritage site status.
The landscape was assessed for World Heritage status by a UK panel of experts this summer and it will be formally presented to Unesco next year.
Just one formal nomination for World Heritage site status is made by the UK each year.
Michael Ellis, the government’s minister for arts, herit- age and tourism, said: “Gwynedd’s slate landscape is hugely important.
“Its vast quarries and mines have not only shaped the countryside of the region but also countless buildings across the UK and the world.
“This is a crucial milestone on the road to becoming a World Heritage site and the global recognition that brings.
“While the Unesco nomination process is very thorough, I believe this unique landscape would be a worthy addition to the list.”
The proposal will be consid- ered by the International Council of Sites and Monuments followed by the World Heritage Committee in 2021.
Should it be approved, the slate landscape will join the likes of Grand Canyon National Park, The Great Barrier Reef and the Lake District as a designated World Heritage site.
The site was the world’s greatest exporter of slate during the mid 19th century, becoming a key part of the social and economic fabric of North Wales.
The slate mined from the area also had a significant impact on global architecture with its materials used on a vast range of buildings, from terraces to palaces all around the world.
The UK Government’s minister for Wales, Mims Davies, said: “It gives me great pleasure to see that the worldrenowned slate landscape of Gwynedd has been selected as the UK Government’s preferred Unesco World Heritage Site nomination.
“An accolade such as this not only highlights the immense beauty and history that Wales has to offer but also acts as a catalyst to investment and tourism.”
Ms Davies added: “The status, which is globally recognised, would help to revive and grow the economy of the slate areas that have had such a significant influence on the communities and heritage of North West Wales.”
The slate landscape is made up of areas including Penrhyn Slate Quarry, Nantlle Valley Slate Quarry Landscape and Dinorwig Slate Quarry Mountain Landscape. The UK has 31 other World Heritage sites.
● Clockwise from main: Penrhyn Slate Quarry, Nantlle Vale Slate Quarry Landscape, Dinorwig Slate Quarry Mountain Landscape and Blaenau Ffestiniog slate mines and quarries