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Black Country Geopark

NEWS - Black Country to host national geology event

Delegates from across the UK will descend on the Black Country next week as it plays host to a UK UNESCO Global Geopark event.

This will be the first time the Black Country has had the opportunity to host the conference style event since it gained UNESCO status in 2020. It would normally take place annually but has not been able to take place face-to-face since the pandemic.      

Representatives from the eight Global Geoparks in the UK have been invited to the Black Country as well as from other areas aspiring to achieve designation.

During their time here, delegates will meet formally to discuss progression of the UK Geoparks in line with UNESCO policy, share good practice and ideas for collaborative working.

They will enjoy a number of field trips across the Black County to learn about the area’s geological and industrial heritage including Dudley Canal Trust, Barr Beacon, Sandwell Valley Country Park and Wightwick Manor.

They will also meet with representatives from key partner organisations including Natural England, Canal & River Trust and Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust to find out more about how partners collaborate to make the geopark a success.

Jane Lamine, strategic lead for the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, said:

This is an opportunity to showcase to our UK counterparts the geological riches found here in the Black Country and why we were considered worthy of UNESCO status.
Before our designation we attended the conference for guidance in our application process and I’m pleased we can now play host and be part of the support offered to other areas in the UK going for geopark status.
Although we’re a geopark still in our infancy, we have geological heritage dating back hundreds of millions of years, some of which can only be found here in the Black Country.
During the course of the conference, we have official UNESCO business that we will be discussed but we also look forward to taking delegates on a tour of the Black Country so they can see for themselves why this is a special place of global geological significance.

Dr Kirstin Lemon, chair of the UK UNESCO Global Geoparks Committee, said:

The UK UNESCO Global Geoparks Committee is excited to be meeting for the first time face to face in three years, and this is made even more special by the fact that it is being held in the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark.
As the newest Geopark in the UK it will be a great opportunity to experience all that the area has to offer and see for ourselves the outstanding landscapes and people that make it such a unique place.

Notes to editors

It was in the summer of 2020, more than ten years since the project was first conceived, that the Executive Board of UNESCO confirmed the Black Country had been awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status.

This was in recognition of the region’s internationally important geology, its cultural heritage and the active partnerships committed to conserving, managing and promoting it.  More than 40 sites across the Black Country make up the geopark.

The geopark is led by all four Black Country authorities – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton as well as key partners including Natural England, the Canal and River Trust, the Wildlife Trust For Birmingham and the Black Country, the Black Country Consortium and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.