20 February, 2019
Blaenavon is currently playing host to more than 50 professionals and volunteers representing each of the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites.
Delegates from sites including the famous Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and Lake District National Park are taking part in World Heritage UK‘s two-day ‘Technical Workshop’ at Big Pit.
World Heritage UK was set up in 2015 to ‘raise the profile and secure the future of our Heritage Sites by advocating for support and resources, promoting the sites’ values, and facilitating networking, training and sharing of good practice’.
The Blaenavon itinerary included the first ever World Heritage Learning and Engagement Network meeting at the Workmen's Hall, where staff and volunteers were able to share best practice, develop new ideas and create cross-site opportunities.
Delegates also attended workshops given by Big Pit’s Sharon Ford and Town Council Clerk Kevin Warren, talking about the Council and Big Pit’s successful Intergenerational project.
They concluded the first day with a social event hosted by the Town Council at the Workmen’s Hall, before enjoying a meal at the Lion Hotel.
Mayor Cllr Gareth Davies said: “The aim of the event was to discuss ways of ensuring that the communities that live in, work in and visit our World Heritage Sites treasure and protect our cultural and natural heritage for generations to come.”
Cllr Davies said there had been a spin-off for Blaenavon tourism in that most of the visitors stayed overnight in town, either at The Lion or Oakfield B&B, and they all dined at the Lion.
“It’s been a great opportunity for us to showcase Blaenavon and the almost 20 years’ experience we’ve had in adapting to and enhancing our World Heritage Status,” he added.
“In turn, it’s given us and other Sites the chance to learn from those who have had WHS status longer than Blaenavon. The event has been a huge success and we look forward to welcoming the representatives back in the future.”