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Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record

The Cornwall and Scilly Historic Environment Record (HER) is the comprehensive and definitive record of the historic environment of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. From quoits to castles, barrows to blowing houses, palstaves to pollen cores, the HER includes information on all aspects of the past from the earliest traces of human occupation up to the present day.

In addition to information on archaeological and historical sites and structures, the HER also incorporates collections of photographs (including aerial photos), maps, plans and surveys, and an extensive reference library. The HER is maintained and updated in accordance with national heritage information standards and guidance.


Consulting the HER

Information in the HER is derived from a variety of sources including fieldwork, surveys and excavations undertaken by the HES and its partner organisations, published and unpublished books and pamphlets, specialist journals, antiquarian authors, museum records, and information sent in by members of the public. A recording form is available for new submissions to the record.

The record can be used in a variety of ways including:

  • Advancing knowledge and understanding of the historic environment;
  • Supporting management and conservation of sites and landscapes
  • Underpinning strategic policies for the protection of the historic environment
  • Supporting decision-making in local authority land-use planning systems;
  • Contributing to environmental improvement and economic regeneration schemes;
  • Contributing to education and social inclusion and; 
  • Encouraging the exploration, appreciation and enjoyment of the historic environment.

The level of detail and the accuracy of the information held on each site reflects the nature or content of the sources used to compile the record. With over 56,000 records in the dataset it has been possible to verify the information 'on the ground' in only a small percentage of sites.

The HER plays a key role in providing the information base for recommendations made by the Historic Environment Advice and Conservation Advice Teams in response to planning applications and other proposals. The information provides a starting point for management processes, conservation (such as forming the basis for the selection of sites where improved management regimes or repair work would be beneficial), fieldwork and research into the historic environment and also informs local communities about their area. In turn, many of these activities generate new information which feeds back to the HER.

What began as a series of separate (usually paper-based) systems to meet particular needs has evolvedinto a system of related digital data sets compiled to current heritage information standards which can be displayed against a variety of base maps. The Historic Environment Record records the following types of information:

In 2011 the Cornwall and Scilly HER undertook an Audit to provide Cornwall Council and English Heritage with an accurate picture of the current state of the HER including a history of its development, future capabilities and its strengths and weaknesses at the close of the financial year 2010-11. The Audit also outlines an Action Plan for the period 2011-2014.

The varied work of the Historic Environment teams in Cornwall is brought together in an Historic Environment White Paper, which sets out the Council’s  aims and objectives for the next five years.

View the Historic Environment White Paper here

Registered as an archaeological organisation with the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA).

To find out more please contact  the Historic Environment Service by email her.enquiries@cornwall.gov.uk or telephone 01872 323606

Historic Environment Service

Fal Building,
New County Hall,

01872 323603

Fax 01872 323811