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Welsh Slate Region to be Nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Gwynedd quarries in north-west Wales is nominated for the world heritage status, a distinction enjoyed by many sites such as the Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef and the Southern African kingdom, Mapungubwe.

The UK government is able to put forward a site per year to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status and this year it has been announced that it would be Gwynedd’s slate landscape.


The area is said to have roofed the 19th century world, with immense amount of slate being sent all around Britain as well as expanding towns across Europe, America and Australia. Not only has the the quarries shaped the countryside of the region and across the UK but the world as well.

By becoming a world heritage site and gaining more global recognition would be a crucial milestone for the Gwynedd slate landscape. The site of quarries, railways, villages and mines will be formally presented as a nomination in 2019 and the selection process will culminate to a decision in 2021.

The area includes slate mines, quarries and the railway of Ffestiniog, the Dinorwig slate quarry mountain landscape, and the Aberllefenni slate quarry which is one of the oldest in Wales and possibly dates back from the early 16thcentury.

The UK has 31 world heritage sites, including the Lake District, the Tower of London, and the Neolithic monuments on Orkney. If successful, the landscape would be the fourth world heritage site in Wales, joining the 13thcentury castles and town wall built by King Edward I, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and the Blaenavon industrial landscape.

There are more than 1,000 world heritage sites, worldwide. Italy having the most, with 54 sites that ranges from the rock drawings of Valcamonica to the industrial northern city of Ivrea. UK’s most recent nomination was the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which recently underwent evaluation by UNESCO experts. A decision is expected next summer.


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