Llongyfarchiadau!*—Wales’ slate landscape awarded Unesco world heritage status

Dinorwic quarry, part of the new Unesco site courtesy Herald Wales

Liverpool may sadly have lost its Unesco award but Wales has filled the gap after the global heritage body granted world heritage status to the slate landscape in Snowdonia, Gwynedd. The award highlights how a network of quarries transformed north-west Wales from a rural backwater to an Industrial Revolution epicentre, with thousands of tons of slate exported worldwide by the 1890s. The landscape takes in valleys and villages such as (get the tongue rolling) Dyffryn Ogwen and Abergynolwyn. There is also an art angle as Manod Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog was used to safely store masterpieces from the National Gallery in London during the Second World War (as the Telegraph puts it, “move over Taj Mahal, these Welsh slate quarries are just as fascinating.”) The formal bid was submitted to Unesco in 2019 by the UK government; Wales now has four designated Unesco World Heritage sites. The other Welsh heritage hot spots are the castles and town walls of Edward I at Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech in north-west Wales; Blaenavon industrial landscape in south-east Wales and Pontcysyllte aqueduct and canal in the north-east.