Geoparks are a unique collection of special sites around the world, recognised for their geology, all of which are internationally important.
The Black Country is a place where coral seas, steamy swamps, scorching deserts, icy wastelands, mines and furnaces created unique and wonderful landscapes over 430 million years of geological time. Once a blanket of mining and industry due to the incredible wealth of minerals just beneath its surface and through the labours of the ingenious people who used them.
Between 1600 and the 1960s intensive heavy industry covered most of the area and earned this region international recognition as ‘The Workshop of the World’, where anything could be designed and made. This industrialization saw much of the landscape turn from traditional green fields to a blackened and smoldering wilderness that was ‘black by day and red by night’ due to the coal mining wastes, furnace slag heaps, the perpetual pall of smoke and the glow of the furnaces at night – and so the ‘Black Country’ was born. Today it is an amazing place to explore with many ‘hidden gems’ of world-class natural and man-made wonders to be found and explored. These are classed as the individual geo sites such as Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve within the aspiring Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark.
The Black Country has applied for Global Geopark status and has submitted its bid to the international organisation (UNESCO) responsible for granting this special status. A further report addressing several recommendations has been requested with an outcome of the status expected in Spring 2020.
If you wish to visit the headquarters for the aspiring Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark Project please see Dudley Museum at The Archives.