Global Network of National Geoparks

Fforest fawr geopark: Developing an integrated concept for a successful application to the European

Published :March 10, 2008

T. ramsay1, A. humpage2 & J. davies3

1School of Earth, Ocean and Pianetary Sciences, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3YE, Wales, UK
2British Geological Survey, Columbus House, Greenmeadow Springs, Cardiff, CF15 7ne, Wales, UK
3Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, LD3 7HP, Wales, UK

Keywords: Economics, bid development, sustainability, partnerships

Fforest Fawr Geopark was accepted into the EGN in October 2005.

So what were the secrets of writing the successful bid?

Before preparing a bid the reasons and vision for wanting to become a member of, and contributor to the EGN must be seriously considered, as membership of the Network involves commitment and obligations.

The main driver for the Fforest Fawr Geopark application was years of economic decline in an area that was once rich in mineral extraction industries and agriculture, the loss of which has resulted in noticeable socio-economic deprivation. However it was recognized that the outstanding geology and geomorphology could potentially provide the much needed stimulus for encouraging sustainable economic development based on geotourism.

This presentation will examine the factors leading up to the decision to apply for Geopark status, the commitment required, the financial and human resource implications of making a successful bid, the development of strong stakeholder and community partnerships and the establishment of a broad based management group to deliver strategic aims and objectives.

Geology alone is not enough, the application must present an integrated approach whereby geology, landscape, and human and natural influences within the territory combine, leading to a strategy for sustainable economic development. At the same time, the scientific, educational, conservation and cultural interests within the proposed Geopark area also need to be addressed and protected and a tourism strategy must be developed to encourage increased access for a wide variety of user groups in a sustainable manner.