Following an intense series of inspections last summer, it can finally be announced that the status of the English Riviera UNESCO Geopark has been assured. The Geopark has been awarded another four years membership of the expanding Global Geoparks Network, now 161 Geoparks in 44 countries supported by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Torbay first gained Global Geopark status in 2007 which recognises the international importance of local geological heritage whilst exploring, developing and celebrating the links between that geological heritage and all other aspects of the area’s natural, cultural and intangible heritage. The designation acts as driver for education, community benefits, expansion of the tourism offer, and sympathetic regeneration. All Geoparks must go through a rigorous examination every four years to retain the status, including a detailed report, self-evaluation forms, a site inspection by two trained evaluators and further scrutiny by the UNESCO Global Geopark Council and UNESCO Executive Board. 

Kents Cavern boss Nick Powe who has been Chairman of the Geopark since the beginning, said: "I am delighted that the Geopark has received a Green Card for another four years. This reflects the hard work of the Geopark Management Team in the Torbay area over the last four years. UNESCO wants it prestigious name only used by worthy areas and Torbay has demonstrated that it not only has geology of international value but the revalidators saw the pride the area has in using the international designation to support its economic and social ambitions.”

Melanie Border, Geopark Coordinator said: “The result, normally anticipated in December of the same year was delayed and finally came through in the midst of the COVID pandemic when it wouldn’t have been appropriate to announce and encourage people to explore what makes this area so very special.”

 “One of the transformation projects we have been implementing is offering special opening times and activities at Geopark partner sites for local people who have been shielding or indeed anyone feeling anxious about reconnecting with the local spaces. A full list of these offers can be found on the website or on social media @RivieraGeopark.”

“The Geopark is working with Living Options Devon and Heritage Ability on this project to create Visual Journeys for partner sites including Cockington Court and Kents Cavern to help people to understand what to expect before they visit.”

Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, Councillor Mike Morey, said: “It was an honour to welcome the evaluators to the English Riviera last summer 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.”

Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive Officer, English Riviera BID Company Ltd, said: “UNESCO is an internationally recognised brand, 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.”

To book your next trip to the English Riviera visit the English Riviera website.

“The important role of the Geopark, promoting the natural environment, its cultural heritage and focusing on sustainable development objectives for Torbay has come into focus over recent weeks as the team has worked with the Geopark partners   offering activities in the community to those anxious as restrictions are eased.”

Please note the photo was taken before COVID-19 and social distancing recommendations.

Pictured from left to right are Nick Powe (Geopark Chairman), Manfred Kupetz (UNESCO Inspector, Germany), Melanie Border (Geopark Coordinator), Setsuya Nakada (UNESCO Inspector, Japan).

Pictured from left to right are Nick Powe (Geopark Chairman), Manfred Kupetz (UNESCO Inspector, Germany), Melanie Border (Geopark Coordinator), Setsuya Nakada (UNESCO Inspector, Japan).

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