The UK Government has revealed seven places it is backing to achieve Unesco World Heritage Status.
The sites have been added to the Government's Tentative List with the aim of joining global landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and Galápagos Islands.
Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the list, meaning the list now comprises seven sites to be put forward by the Government.
The Tentative List is published around every ten years, setting out sites the Government feels has the best chance of success. The Government will now work with local authorities and devolved administrations to develop their bids.
Cultural sites on the list include York, which has historic civic and religious buildings including its Minster, and a rich legacy left by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants.
Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847, was a project to bring greenery to urban environments. It provided a blueprint for municipal planning that has influenced parks across the work, including New York City's Central Park.
Also on the list is the Zenith of Iron Age Shetland, a collection of three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years.
Unesco also awards World Heritage Site status to extraordinary natural places. Joining the Tentative List for its importance to bird populations and wildlife is the East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route over western parts of Europe including Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.
The Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas in the UK Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands have been put forward for their importance to marine biodiversity and their natural beauty.
Heritage minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Today we are confirming our support for some of the most enchanting heritage sites and breathtaking landscapes in the UK and its Overseas Territories as they bid for Unesco World Heritage Site status.
“All the locations being put forward would be worthy recipients of this accolade – and we will give them our full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring.”
Laura Davies, HM ambassador to Unesco, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative. These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”
The UK and its Overseas Territories already boasts 33 Unesco World Heritage Sites across Unesco's cultural and natural designations, including Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall.
Two sites which submitted their full nominations to UNESCO earlier this year also remain on the Government’s Tentative List. One is The Flow Country, a large area of peatland in the north of Scotland which plays a crucial role in supporting biodiversity.
The other is the Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland, part of a joint bid alongside other internationally significant Moravian religious sites in Denmark, the United States and Germany.
UK Tentative List
- Birkenhead the People’s Park [Cultural]
- East Atlantic Flyway – England East Coast Wetlands [Natural]
- The Flow Country [Natural]
- Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements [Cultural, Transnational]
- Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas [Natural]
- York [Cultural]
- The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland [Cultural]