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Centre Hills
Centre Hills view from Drummonds, Montserrat

Could These Local Attractions Be Future UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston recently launched a call for the UK’s next nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Status. 

Open to sites in the UK, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, nominations are reviewed every 10 years and is a chance for sites to receive international recognition for the important role they have played in the world’s history.

According to a UK Government release, the “successful sites could join the UK’s 33 other UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Stonehenge, Saltaire, The Tower of London and Hadrian’s Wall. Last year the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales was the most recent UK location to receive UNESCO status. 2021 also saw the City of Bath – originally named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 – awarded a special dual designation with 11 other European Spa towns including Baden-Baden in Germany and Vichy in France.”

In 2020, Secretary General of UNESCO Antigua & Barbuda Dr Reginald Murphy said that with resources and effort Montserrat could one day be a location of a World Heritage Site.

He identified Soufriere Hills Volcano, the Centre Hills and Petroglyphs as local sites which have the most potential to become a World Heritage Site.

Sarita Francis, Director of the Montserrat National Trust, told Discover Montserrat they will meet with the council and other national stakeholders to consider whether to put forward local sites for consideration.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “UNESCO World Heritage Status has a transformative impact on places bestowed with this honour. As well as international acclaim, UNESCO status boosts tourism and creates employment and economic growth opportunities. The UK and Overseas Territories have many potential contenders and I can’t wait to see what fantastic sites and stories we uncover in our search.”

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for meeting the requirements of the World Heritage Convention within the UK. This includes maintaining and reviewing the Tentative List of sites, formally nominating new sites, and ensuring existing sites are conserved and protected.

The new Tentative List will be published by DCMS later this year.

The UK’s next nominations, drawn from the current Tentative List will be examined by the World Heritage Committee in 2024. They are the Scottish Flow Country and Gracehill in Northern Ireland. Gracehill – a Moravian Church settlement dating from 1759 – will be nominated as part of a joint bid led by the US and Germany to add a number of Moravian Church settlements to the existing UNESCO World Heritage Site in Denmark.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK and Overseas Territories are:

Cultural Sites

  • Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (2000)
  • Blenheim Palace (1987)
  • Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church (1988)
  • Castles and Town Walls of King
  • Edward in Gwynedd (1986)
  • City of Bath (1987)
  • Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
  • Derwent Valley Mills (2001)
  • Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987, 2005, 2008)
  • Gorham’s Cave Complex (2016)
  • Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
  • Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
  • Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
  • Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019)
  • Maritime Greenwich (1997)
  • New Lanark (2001)
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
  • Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey (1987)
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (2009)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
  • Saltaire (2001)
  • Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
  • Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey (1986)
  • The English Lake District (2017)
  • The Forth Bridge (2015)
  • The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021)
  • The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales (2021)
  • Tower of London (1988)

Natural Sites

  • Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
  • Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
  • Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995, 2004)
  • Henderson Island (1988)

Mixed Cultural / Natural

  • St Kilda (1986, 2004, 2005)