by Webmaster, 30th July 2021
The slate mines of Gwynedd achieve worldwide recognition from UNESCO
What does an industrial area of Wales have in common with the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon? Well, after much deliberation, the slate landscape of north-west Wales joins this illustrious list as one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites.
Known for roofing the 19th-century world, the quarrying and mining areas of Gwynedd joins three other World Heritage Sites in Wales: the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest canal aqueduct in the world; Blaenavon industrial landscape in Torfaen, and the castles and town walls of Gwynedd, built by King Edward I, which include Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech.
World Heritage sites over the border in England include Stonehenge, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, the Lake District, Maritime Greenwich and Hadrian's Wall.
Following the decision, Wales’ bid leader Dafydd Wigley addressed the committee by video link from the National Slate Museum in Llanberis on the 28th July.
"Here in Gwynedd we have an outstanding example of a complete landscape and this inscription is a source of great pride for our communities in North Wales and a celebration of our contribution to the world,” says Dafydd.
"We look forward to being part of the wider community of World Heritage sites and this inscription has recognised our global contribution."
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee was looking for ‘a site of outstanding universal value which should be a unique landmark, and also has cultural, historical or physical significance’.
Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford commented; “This announcement recognises the significant contribution this part of North Wales has made to the cultural and industrial heritage not only of Wales, but of the wider world.
"The quarrying and mining of slate has left a unique legacy in Gwynedd, which the communities are rightly proud of. This worldwide recognition by UNESCO will help preserve that legacy and history in those communities for generations to come and help them with future regeneration."
The successful bid included six specific areas, namely:
• Penrhyn Slate Quarry and Bethesda, and the Ogwen Valley to Port Penrhyn
• Dinorwig Slate Quarry Mountain Landscape
• Nantlle Valley Slate Quarry Landscape
• Gorseddau and Prince of Wales Slate Quarries, Railways and Mill
• Ffestiniog; its Slate Mines and Quarries, ‘city of slates’ and Railway to Porthmadog
• Bryneglwys Slate Quarry, Abergynolwyn Village and the Talyllyn Railway