Who’s involved and how the Geopark is administered
What is a UNESCO Global Geopark?
A UNESCO Global Geopark is an area, typically a few hundred square miles in extent, with a geological heritage of international significance, which local communities have chosen to celebrate and which has then been endorsed by UNESCO, (or until recently by the EGN, the Europe-wide network). The Global Geoparks Network, established in November 2015 now boasts 195 Geoparks, of which 95 are also members of the EGN which was itself established in 2000. Guided walks, exhibitions, leaflets and other facilities are commonly provided to inform visitors and to help them enjoy the area.
In each Geopark, different organisations from the public, private and charity sectors work together with common objectives and to an agreed plan, seeking funding to carry out a variety of geotourism, education and conservation projects.
The establishment of Fforest Fawr Geopark
Fforest Fawr Geopark was formed as a partnership between Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, the British Geological Survey and Cardiff University together with a host of other organisations with local, regional or national interests.
The Geopark was accepted into the European Geopark Network in October 2005 and subsequently became a member of the UNESCO-assisted Global Geoparks Network in October 2006. It is a signatory to the European Geoparks Charter which guides the way in which it operates. In November 2015 it became one of the 120 founder members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, putting it on a par with with World Heritage Sites such as that at Blaenavon at the eastern end of the National Park.
Each Geopark submits itself to a revalidation every four years with a view to ensuring that high standards of operation are maintained. Fforest Fawr Geopark has thus far been through four successful revalidations – in 2008, 2012, 2016 and again in 2021.
Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark aims to promote the wider understanding of the area’s heritage – not just geological, but other aspects of its natural history and the wider cultural heritage – and to encourage the development of sustainable tourism based upon that heritage for the benefit of both residents and visitors to the area.
The Geopark Management Group
The Management Group meets three times a year to consider strategic and policy matters regarding the development of the Geopark. It draws its membership from the following organisations:
- Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority
- Friends of the Brecon Beacons (Brecon Beacons Park Society)
- Brecon Beacons Tourism
- British Geological Survey
- Cambrian Caving Council
- Cardiff University
- Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust
- Dyfed Archaeological Trust
- Earth Science Education Forum
- y Gaer – Museum, Art Gallery & Library (Powys CC)
- Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust
- Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
- National Trust
- Natural Resources Wales
- South East Wales RIGS Group
- South Wales Geologists’ Association
- South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group (SWOAPG)
- Tawe Uchaf Community Council (Coelbren, Penycae, Ynyswen, Caehopkin villages)
- Swansea University
- Visit Wales
- Welsh Stone Forum
The Geopark works closely with other partners too, including Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales for example.
This page was updated on 28 July 2023