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 European and Global Geopark

As well as being an AONB, the North Pennines is also a European and Global Geopark.   

Britain's first!

In 2003 the North Pennines AONB became the first area in Britain to be awarded the UNESCO-endorsed status of European Geopark. Geoparks are places with outstanding geology where special effort is made to make the most of Earth heritage through interpretation, education, conservation and nature-based tourism. There are several other Geoparks in the UK and a growing number around Europe and the rest of the world. In Europe the North Pennines is part of a family of special places, from Ireland to Romania and from Finland to Italy.

Founding member of the Global Network

In 2004 the North Pennines AONB became a founding member of the Global Geoparks Network. There are currently nearly 80 members of the Global Geoparks Network, including all the European Geoparks and Geoparks in China, Malaysia, Brazil, Iran, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Canada and Australia. Many other areas around the world are working towards Geopark status.

The AONB Staff Unit, supported by a Geopark Advisory Group, manages the North Pennines AONB's Geopark status. It reports progress to the European Geoparks Network Co-ordination Committee, and takes part in joint projects and funding bids with other Geoparks.

Listen to the AONB Partnership's Geodiversity Officer, Elizabeth Pickett, talking to Planet Earth online about why the North Pennines European and Global Geopark is so special. Click here to listen.

More information

Find out more about the European and Global Geopark status for the North Pennines by contacting Chris Woodley-Stewart (Director, AONB Partnership) or Dr Elizabeth Pickett (Geodiversity Officer) at the AONB Partnership Staff Unit on 01388 528801 (chris@northpenninesaonb.org.uk or elizabeth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk). 

A family visits Killhope, the North of England Lead Mining Museum in Weardale
Pausing on a guided walk to discuss the landscape
Walkers enjoying a break at High Cup Nick on the Eastern Fellside
Walkers enjoy a guided walk in the South Tyne Valley