THE Black Country is this week hosting a UK UNESCO Global Geopark event.

It's the first time the Black Country has had chance to host the conference style event since it gained UNESCO status in 2020 as it has not been held in person since the pandemic hit.

Representatives from the eight Global Geoparks in the UK have been invited to attend as well as those from areas aspiring to achieve designation.

During the visit, delegates will be taken on field trips to learn about the area’s geological and industrial heritage - with stop offs at Dudley Canal Trust, Barr Beacon, Sandwell Valley Country Park and Wightwick Manor.

They will also meet representatives from organisations including Natural England, Canal & River Trust and Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust to find out more about how partners collaborate to make the geopark a success.

Jane Lamine, strategic lead for the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, said: "This is an opportunity to showcase to our UK counterparts the geological riches found here in the Black Country and why we were considered worthy of UNESCO status.

"Although we’re a geopark still in our infancy, we have geological heritage dating back hundreds of millions of years, some of which can only be found here in the Black Country.

"During the conference, we have official UNESCO business that will be discussed but we also look forward to taking delegates on a tour of the Black Country so they can see for themselves why this is a special place of global geological significance."

Dr Kirstin Lemon, chair of the UK UNESCO Global Geoparks Committee, said the conference would be a "great opportunity to experience all that the area has to offer and see for ourselves the outstanding landscapes and people that make it such a unique place".