Community / Isles geopark included in UNESCO digital trail

Photo: Yolanda Bruce

SHETLAND features in the world’s first UNESCO trail, which brings together some of Scotland’s most culturally significant sites.

Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark is one of the 13 place-based designations included in Scotland’s UNESCO digital trail which covers world heritage sites, biosphere reserves, global geoparks and creative cities.

It is being launched today (Friday) and it is available here.


A UNESCO Global Geopark is an area with internationally important rocks and landscapes.

Locally the geopark, which is managed by Shetland Amenity Trust, was established in 2009.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The trust’s regional archaeologist Dr Val Turner said: “Shetland has long been proud to be recognised by UNESCO as a Geopark.

“We are delighted that we are now linked in a new way with UNESCO’s best within Scotland.

“This trail is an exciting new opportunity to be linked to the other UNESCO sites in a way that celebrates, promotes and encourages people to visit them all. I hope that the trail will mean that new audiences will discover what an ancient and yet dynamic and pure environment Shetland has.


“We look forward to welcoming new visitors as a result.”

Tourism minister Ivan McKee said: “Tourism is key to Scotland’s economy and as we begin to recover from the pandemic, this collaboration between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, NatureScot and UNESCO could not be more timely.

“Supported by £360,000 of Scottish Government funding, the UNESCO Trail will help to attract and welcome both domestic and international visitors again, by showcasing Scotland’s unique cultural heritage and many UNESCO sites.


“As we approach COP26, I’m pleased to see that the UNESCO trail has sustainability at its core and will help visitors make responsible and sustainable choices by highlighting green accredited businesses and promoting environmentally friendly travel.”

The full list of designations included in Scotland’s UNESCO Trail is:

  • Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere
  • Wester Ross Biosphere
  • Dundee City of Design
  • Edinburgh City of Literature
  • Glasgow City of Music
  • Shetland Global Geopark
  • North West Highlands Global Geopark
  • The Forth Bridge World Heritage Site
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Antonine Wall World Heritage Site
  • New Lanark World Heritage Site
  • Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site
  • St Kilda World Heritage Site