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On 13th July 2006 select mining landscapes across Cornwall and west Devon were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site placing Cornwall and west Devon’s historic mining heritage on a par with such international treasures as Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site bid project (2001 - 2006) was compiled on behalf of a family of organisations and individuals with a shared belief in the value of our mining history. Many of the partners in the World Heritage Site own or operate important mining landscapes and attractions, through which the story of Cornish Mining will be made available to the public. The World Heritage Site team have developed a Cornish Mining 'brand' within which our partners will operate, based on our internationally important cultural characteristics and the principles and standards expected of a World Heritage Site, although all of the organisations and individuals involved remain independent.

Our role is to promote the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site as a distinctive, evolving, living pattern of landscapes, encouraging visitors to explore and learn about the physical, social and cultural aspects of the Cornish and west Devon mining heritage. We will do this by delivering our six brand values, which are:

Most organisations in the world have a set of brand values, which can seem completely meaningless. The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site team believes that the most important issue is the way those values are delivered and bought to life through our and our partners’ activities. This is what we mean:

Innovation and exploration
Cornish Mining World Heritage Site organisations believe in continuously learning how to do things better. We will challenge conventional perceptions of industrial heritage and World Heritage Site destinations, develop new product and service ideas based on our audiences’ needs, and provide innovative, interactive, educational experiences.

Entrepreneurial and progressive
Like our ancestors, we will also look for new opportunities to “profit” from our mining legacy. This will mean integrating the historic landscape into a modern thriving society, preserving our uniquely important landscape features whilst adapting to meet modern day expectations.

Authenticity and cultural distinctiveness
World Heritage status will require us to ensure that what people experience about Cornish Mining is authentic, accurate and culturally distinctive.

The Cornish Mining landscape is a ’destination’ with its own distinctive history, personality and attitude – spirit, intelligence and integrity. We will encourage interaction with these landscapes and Cornish Mining cultural traditions in sport, arts, music and literature.

Sustaining the environment and economy
World Heritage Status can be used to bring tangible socio-economic benefit to the region. It will attract conservation funding, be a major asset to tourism and contribute to the regeneration of former mining communities.

Mutual endeavour and respect
Built by a partnership of shared interest, Cornish Mining is an example of the value of collective effort. We recognise that the World Heritage Site belongs to and will be delivered by the people and communities of Cornwall and west Devon, and will continue to consult and debate with them about how it should develop.

Broadening horizons internationally
Cornish Mining generated a true “world family”, and a landscape and culture that can be experienced internationally. In excess of 250,000 people left Cornwall during the 100 years between 1815 to 1915, giving rise to an estimated 6 million people globally of Cornish descent. There are understood to be in excess of 175 locations internationally with Cornish mining connections and it is our aim to foster relationships with Cornish Mining communities worldwide.

About World Heritage Site status

World Heritage Site status was achieved under the auspices of the World Heritage Convention, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1972, which provides for the identification, protection and conservation of natural and cultural Sites deemed of Outstanding Universal Value.1

Currently 911 such Sites can be found across the world and these include 704 Cultural, 180 Natural, and 27 Mixed properties in 151 States Parties (as of August 2010). Cultural examples on the UNESCO list alongside the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site include the Tower of London, the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur in Egypt, and the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in Peru. There are currently 27 World Heritage Sites within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

World Heritage status gives recognition to 'Cornish Mining’s' excellence as a world class cultural heritage site and recognises the importance of 'Cornish Mining’s' historic landscapes, its outstanding mine buildings and other features, in addition to its important role in technological innovation and scientific research.


The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office is based at:

The Percuil Building
Cornwall Council
Old County Hall
United Kingdom

The WHS Team are as follows:

Deborah Boden, WHS Co-ordinator
Ainsley Cocks, WHS Research & Information Officer

Silvia Dunn, WHS Discover the Extraordinary Project Assistant

Mary Olszewska, WHS Discover the Extraordinary Interpretation Officer
David Rutherford, WHS Discover the Extraordinary Principal Officer

Samantha Snow, WHS Discover the Extraordinary Marketing Officer

Jeremy Williams, WHS Projects Development Officer
Karen Willows, WHS Administration Officer

For more information, contact the World Heritage Site Office on:

Tel: + 44 (0)1872 322586

Email: kwillows@cornwall.gov.uk

For a map of the location of the WHS Office please use the following link. 398kb
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 1 Outstanding Universal Value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity. As such, the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole.’

(From the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention [2005] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - Intergovernmental Committee for the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Paris: World Heritage Centre, para.49, p.14)

© Historic Environment Cornwall Council 2011