In News

The slate landscape of North Wales, which surrounds Snowdonia in the county of Gwynedd has been awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site title at the latest World Heritage Committee meeting in China.

The announcement makes the landscape the 32nd World Heritage site in the UK following the removal of Liverpool’s status following developments of the city’s waterfront. The Welsh slate landscape was announced as a nominee for UNESCO status by the government in 2018 with Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing it as an “area of remarkable beauty.” It is believed that the slate mined from the site “roofed the 19th century world” as it was exported all across the world.

The area served international demand for Welsh slate from the 1700s until the 1940s, with Gwynedd becoming a major centre of quarrying and stone processing. Slate has been quarried in North Wales for more than a 1000 years, with demand rising during the industrial revolution. By the 19th century it was thought to be the only major industry in Britain that used a language other than English, producing almost 500,000 tonnes of slate a year.

Centuries of mining in the area has transformed the landscape, with the UNESCO inscription reflecting on the region’s important role in the industrialisation of the world. With the title now bestowed on this area, Wales’ total of UNESCO World Heritage Sites has grown to four, the others being Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Blaenavon landscape and King Edward’s castles and town walls.




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