International delegates will visit the Black Country this week on a fact finding mission about the region's bid to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Earlier this year, the 4 Black Country authorities (Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, and Walsall councils) submitted an application to become part of the UNESCO Global Geopark network. 

A Global Geopark is an area of international significance that protects and promotes the geological and related industrial and cultural heritage for everyone to enjoy now and in the future. 

There are many world class features in the Black Country and the Geopark would link several different heritage sites and features across the area to tell the story of the landscape.  In the case of the Black Country, the significant part it played in the industrial revolution is at the heart of the bid and the proposed Global Geopark.

UNESCO delegates from China and Finland are flying in to Birmingham to spend time with the Black Country Geopark team visiting key sites across the region to assess its application and feedback to the international committee.

They will be carrying out an evaluation mission to find out more about the area's internationally important geology and will visit sites including the geopark exhibition at the Bilston Craft Gallery, Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve in Dudley, Barr Beacon in Walsall, and Galton Valley in Sandwell.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: "This project is very important to Wolverhampton and it is a big week for the Black Country as we showcase the many areas and features that we believe make the region a perfect example of what it is to be a Global Geopark.

"The history of the city has been channelled by its geology, with coal under Bilston, and the brewery having made use of the special waters the geology delivers.

"The inspectors are coming to look at our glacial boulders at Bantock House Museum and Park, West Park, and our collection of paintings of the industrial past.

"If UNESCO grant this special status it will put the Black Country on the international map and there will be plenty of scope to attract tourists to our region and boost the local visitor economy."

This evaluation mission is the final step in the UNESCO scrutiny process. A decision about the application will be made early next year.

To find out more about the project, people can go to Type=links;Linkid=6502;Title=Black Country Geopark;Target=_blank;, follow @BCgeopark on twitter or the Black Country Geopark Project on Facebook.

  • released: Monday 20 June, 2016