Skip to main content

NEWS - UNESCO status secured for Black Country Geopark

The Black Country is celebrating after securing UNESCO status for another term.

Every four years UNESCO sends international experts to assess the progress of every Global Geopark to check that all the required standards are being met.

In an official letter from UNESCO this week, it has been confirmed that the Black Country is doing just that and will retain its UNESCO Global Geopark status until 2027.

It was in summer 2020 that the Executive Board of UNESCO first confirmed the Black Country had been welcomed into the network of Global Geoparks.

This decision recognised the region as a place with internationally important geology, and wonderful related biological and cultural heritage which together tell the story of the landscape and the people who live within it. It also recognised the many active partnerships committed to conserving, managing and promoting it.  

Last summer, it was time for the Geopark to be reassessed to secure another term. UNESCO assessors from Uruguay and Spain spent four days in the Black Country, scrutinising progress made.

They visited many sites across the area, met with the staff, dedicated partners, passionate members of the community and proud volunteers – all working to make the region’s geosites the wonderful heritage assets of Black Country.

Geosites include Wren’s Nest National National Reserve, Saltwells National Nature Reserve, Walsall Arboretum, Barr Beacon, Sandwell Valley Country Park, Galton Valley, Bumble Hole, Smestow Valley and West Park in Wolverhampton.

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

We are delighted that following a successful visit from UNESCO assessors last summer, we now have official confirmation that we retain our UNESCO Global Geopark status.
This wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of all the staff and volunteers within the partnership who are driving forward key projects.
Highlights of the last four years include successful nature recovery across geosites through the restoration of heathlands and habitats, declaration of a new National Nature Reserve at Saltwells, being part of a pilot project that’s looking to shape the future of UNESCO designated sites across the UK, hosting the UK Committee on UNESCO Global Geoparks and welcoming geologists and conservationists from around the world keen to learn from our experience here in the Black Country.
The Geopark has also won a regional award for its contribution to the quality of the environment and health and wellbeing of people living, working and visiting the West Midlands region and it continues to work with colleagues in further and higher education establishments to support research projects and provide learning opportunities.
We hope to build on this success over the next four years and, importantly, continue to welcome visitors, from both near and far, to explore our nature reserves, parks, canals, former quarries and other open spaces which form the Geopark and tell its wonderful story.

UNESCO status is secured until December 2027.

The key partners within the Geopark are Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils, Natural England, Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country , The Local Nature Partnership and Canal and River Trust.

To find out more about the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, to go