Tourist boost for the slate mines of North Wales

By | Category: Travel destinations

Joining three other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Wales is the slate area of North Wales.

slate wasn’t just used for roofing and building

The organisation decided to award the status this week just after removing the quayside area of Liverpool from its lists.

It means the UK once again has 33 accredited sites.

But why slate and why this area when slate is mined elsewhere in the UK?

In the consideration that was made by UNESCO, it looked at granting status to seven areas representing slate workings, its transport and infrastructure, and the villages and towns that provided the workers.

These areas were;

  • The Ogwen-Cegin valleys comprising the Penrhyn quarry, (still a working quarry) its harbour at Port Penrhyn and rail system as well as Penrhyn Castle, the home of the major quarry-owning family.
  • The Dinorwic quarry and its hospital, worker settlements and transport systems, which comprise the National Slate Museum (one of the constituent parts of the National Museum of Wales.
  • The Nantlle/Moel Tryfan slate quarrying landscape with worker settlements and transport systems.
  • The Gorsedda quarry, tramway and worker settlement
  • The Ffestiniog slate landscape with early hydro-power station and associated transport systems including the Ffestiniog Railway.
  • The southern Gwynedd quarrying landscapes and transport systems.
  • The main building at Bangor University because of the quarrymen’s financial contribution to education.

Located in Snowdonia, the area already attracts tourists from not just Wales but from the rest of the UK and the world. The appeal has been enhanced by creating a zip-line that runs over the quarry at Penrhyn whilst another underground zip-line runs at Llechwedd.

Glamping, camping, walking are already big attractions in the area so can the infrastructure cope with even more visitors? It’s a question that locals have been asking.

The tourist industry will welcome the higher profile that such an award provides. Others living in areas where slate was heavily mined will wonder why the submission to UNESCO didn’t include all the slate mining areas of Wales.

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