North Pennines AONB

UNESCO Global Geopark

UNESCO Global Geopark

UNESCO Global Geoparks are places where outstanding geological heritage is used to support sustainable development, through conservation, education, interpretation and nature tourism. Within the Global Geoparks Network, Geopark staff and partners collaborate to share ideas, raise funds, promote each others’ areas and carry out projects. The North Pennines AONB has been a Geopark since 2003, and the initiative became a full programme of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 2015.

One of only eight in the UK

The UK is home to seven other UNESCO Global Geoparks, stretching from the English Riviera in the South to Geopark Shetland in the North, and including two Geoparks in Wales and a cross-border Geopark shared by Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The UK sites are part of a growing network of UNESCO Global Geoparks all over the world, and sit alongside UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves.

Internationally significant

All of the UK’s Global Geoparks have internationally significant geology. But what sets Global Geoparks apart from other designations is that it comes without any restrictions on development and the primary focus is on using Earth heritage to support sustainable economic development of the area, primarily through geological and responsible tourism. In the North Pennines, this has included holding geology festivals and events, developing geological trails across the landscape, creating displays in local museums and visitor centres, producing educational resources, working in local schools and more.

Around the Geopark

More about the Geopark network

Read more about our geodiversity work…

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