News from the Geopark

English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark hosts international evaluators as part of four year revalidation process

8 Aug 2019

This week, the English Riviera Geopark Organisation (ERGO) along with key and associate partners of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark hosted two UNESCO recognised evaluators as part of the revalidation process, to determine if Torbay retains its UNESCO Global Geopark designation for a further 4-years.

The English Riviera first received international recognition for its rich geological, historical and cultural heritage in September 2007, it became one of just 57 areas around the world to be endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into both the European and Global Geopark Networks. Since then, UNESCO formally recognised the contribution of Geoparks through the introduction the first new UNESCO programme in 40 years titled the International Geosciences and Geoparks programme and as of April 2019 there are 147 UNESCO Global Geopark spread across 41 Countries.

In order to maintain quality standards and reputation all UNESCO Global Geoparks must undergo revalidation every 4-years, whereby the Geopark must submit information and progress reports as well as undergoing a detailed inspection during a revalidation field mission.

Inspectors Professor Setsuya Nakada and Dr Manfred Kupetz spent 4 days out and about in the English Riviera visiting key sites such as; Hopes Nose, Anstey’s Cove, Torre Abbey, Kents Cavern, Torquay Museum, Daddyhole Plain, Berry Head and Brixham Heritage Museum speaking to subject matter experts regarding their work, and the contribution their organisation makes to help support the Geopark, raise awareness of the UNESCO Global Geopark designation, and the importance of Torbay’s geological heritage both in history and society today.

Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, Cllr Mike Morey, said: “It has been an honour to welcome the evaluators to the English Riviera and to be able to showcase to them what makes the area so special from a natural and cultural perspective. The Council are fully committed to safeguarding our planet and the Bay, our UNESCO designation only strengthens that commitment for future generations.”

Nick Powe Geopark Chairman, said: “Torbay is such a special place, our geology covers four time periods with discoveries being of such importance that it led to the naming of the Devonian Period, and archaeological finds that changed the understanding of the antiquity of man. Our UNESCO designation highlights the importance of our unique history and how in partnership with key and associate partners we are working together to protect, educate and enhance our natural environment.”

Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive Officer, English Riviera BID Company Ltd, said: “UNESCO is an internationally recognised brand of quality, and from a destination marketing point of view our UNESCO Global Geopark designation offers enormous potential to attract visitors from all over the world. Our unique combination of superb natural environment and well-developed tourism facilities make the English Riviera a truly unique place to visit.”

All revalidation information will be considered by the UNESCO Global Geopark Council and we will be notified in mid-December as to whether or not we have maintained our UNESCO designation. Throughout the year there are plenty of opportunities for local residents to enjoy, find out about and learn about the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark; through key and associate partners and the annual Geopark festival.