What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

“World Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.”

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site

In 1986, Stonehenge was designated by UNESCO, together with Avebury and Associated Sites such as Silbury and West Kennet Long Barrow known as the “Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site”. The description of the World Heritage Site (WHS) includes a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value which explains why the WHS is considered to be of such importance to mankind.

The UK Government is signatory to the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Article 4 of the Convention states that:

“Each State Party to this Convention recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 and situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State. It will do all it can to this end, to the utmost of its own resources and, where appropriate, with any international assistance and co-operation, in particular, financial, artistic, scientific and technical, which it may be able to obtain.”

UNESCO requires State Parties to the Convention to produce management plans for their WHSs. Until 2015, Stonehenge and Avebury previously had separate management plans but a joint management plan for the whole WHS has been published. The new Management Plan includes a set of maps in a separate volume showing different aspects and characteristics of the WHS.

ACT NOW! You can email UNESCO today to demand that the widened A303 must not cause further damage to Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

UNESCO & Stonehenge WHS Missions and Reports

2018: The UNESCO/ICOMOS Mission interviewed stakeholders including The Stonehenge Alliance in March 2018. Report awaited.

2017: Report of the World Heritage Committee and its decision in July in Krakow: Please scroll down to view the report and decision at the bottom of this page.

Report to the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated sites (UK), 31 January – 3 February 2017 presented to the UK Government in June 2017.

  •  Our blog about the World Heritage Committee Meeting here.

2016: Report on the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to Stonehenge, Avebury and Associted Sites, 27-30 October 2015. Report published May 2016.

  • The Mission interviewed a number of stakeholders including The Stonehenge Alliance.    Our report is here and BBC press report here.

2015: In response to our campaign UNESCO made the following statement on 19 May 2015:


Click on image to see statement.


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