Sunkenkirk Stone Circle, Cumbria
Image credit Tim Clark, Heritage Action

The panel that decides which UK sites go forward to be considered for World Heritage Status has had its first meeting.  

The list from which they are to choose a final few has a dearth of prehistoric sites – as we highlighted a while back. One particularly prominent omission is “the most important prehistoric monument between Stonehenge and the Orkneys” , Thornborough Henges, and in fact the sole specifically prehistoric flag bearer out of 38 is Creswell Crags with its cave paintings (which, to be realistic may not make the final short list since the Panel may decide, and our French friends will be sure to help them on this, that its paintings are not of  the “world” prominence of the likes of those at Lascaux for instance). 

Whereas Thornborough…. where in the world is there anything like that? Nowhere! Having not received its due in terms of official protection it seems it is now being deprived of its deserved level of official recognition!

Anyhow, here’s the list the Panel will be choosing from ……

  • Arbroath Abbey (Scotland)
  • The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter (England)
  • The Birth of the Railway Age serial nomination (England)
  • Blackpool (England)
  • The heroic period of civil and marine engineering in England 1822-1866, Bristol (England)
  • Bronte Landscape and Haworth Village (England)
  • Brunel’s Great Western Railway (England)
  • Buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow (Scotland)
  • Chatham Dockyard and its Defences (England)
  • Chester Rows (England)
  • Colchester, Camulodunum and Colonia Victricensis (England)
  • Creswell Crags (England)
  • The Hill of Derry (Northern Ireland)
  • The Dover Strait (England)
  • The Flow Country (Scotland)
  • The Forth Bridge (Scotland)
  • The Fountain Cavern (Anguilla)
  • Gorham’s Cave (Gibraltar)
  • Gracehill Conservation area (Northern Ireland)
  • Jodrell Bank Observatory (England)
  • The Lake District (England)
  • The Laxey Valley (Isle of Man)
  • Historic Lincoln (England)
  • Malone and Stranmillis Historic Urban landscape (Northern Ireland)
  • Merthyr Tydfil (Wales)
  • Merton Priory (England)
  • Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof: The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland (Scotland)
  • The Royal Sites of Ireland – Navan Fort (Northern Ireland)
  • The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads (England)
  • Slate Industry of North Wales (Wales)
  • Offa’s Dyke (England/Wales border)
  • St Andrews, Medieval Burgh and Links (Scotland)
  • Island of Saint Helena (Saint Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (Caribbean)
  • Tynwald Hill and environs – Norse assembly sites of North West Europe (Isle of Man)
  • Former RAF Upper Heyford (England)
  • Wye Valley and Forest of Dean (England/Wales border)
  • City of York (England)

Some fantastic places, and we could all think of still more. For instance, how about proposing to UNESCO that the Preseli mountains are added to the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site?!

But for now, if there aren’t going to be any specific prehistoric sites amongst the front runners, we’d probably support The Lake District – on the grounds that it includes many amazing prehistoric sites – and is anyway a marvellously strong contender for a host of other reasons as well.