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WORLD HERITAGE
   

WORLD HERITAGE

Darwin's Landscape Laboratory, the bid selected by the UK government for World Heritage status has been deferred by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

At it's meeting in Brasilia, Brazil the World Heritage Committee announced that although Darwin's Landscape Laboratory was very strong in terms of recognising scientific achievement, further in depth study and analysis was needed before the site could be considered for World Heritage designation. The Committee voted to defer the nomination back to the UK authorities for these issues to be addressed.

The UK stands by its view that Down House and its surroundings are a uniquely valuable site for the World Heritage of science. The properties included are all well looked after by English Heritage, the London Borough of Bromley and the Wildlife Trusts responsible, with good access and excellent information for visitors. The UK is glad and proud to have Darwin's Landscape Laboratory in its care, and to be able to provide its heritage to the world.

Read the full press release

The site is of outstanding universal value because of its unique cultural significance as the open-air laboratory in which Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection. It provided unique insights which it provides into the scientific understanding of natural life and biodiversity that he gained there and gave to the world. The ideas Darwin developed from his observations and experiments at Downe have had a profound influence on the life sciences, medicine, agriculture, philosophy, the creative arts and general views of humankind's relation to other living creatures in the natural world.

The landscape of the site preserves the character of the neighbourhood and many of the settings that Darwin lived and worked in for forty years; and many of the plant, insect and animal species that he worked on there can still be seen in the habitats in which he studied them. The protection, presentation and explanation of the living organisms and natural processes that Darwin studied around Downe are central features of the site.

"Darwin's explanation of the process of organic evolution is today the very basis of our understanding of nature and underpins biological research in every part of the world. It is humbling and salutary to realise that although as a young man he spent five years sailing round the world, he gathered and collated the vast majority of his evidence sitting in his study at Down House and observing, with unparalleled acuity, the process of nature in his own English garden and surroundings. The house, its grounds and the countryside around must surely have a pre-eminent claim to be given World Heritage status." Sir David Attenborough.

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is recognised as one of the most powerful and fundamentally important ideas in present day science, and indeed in philosophy and other central aspects of human culture. Consequently, his ideas have outstanding universal value.


Evolution by natural selection is key to our understanding of the living world.

Biodiversity is of central importance for nature conservation and human survival.

The life sciences and the scientific approach are essential for success in managing sustainable development.