Countryside Advice

  

The Historic Environment Countryside Advice Officer provides advice on archaeological remains and the wider historic environment to those in Cornwall with an interest in the past, present and future of agriculture, forestry and the rural landscape.

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The Countryside Advice service includes all aspects of the environment that have been affected by people or have been given meaning by people. This wider historic environment covers the whole of Cornwall,a place with over 8000 years of continual human use.

Much of the character of the Cornish rural landscape is historic. The patterns of fields, lanes and boundaries, and the agricultural land use and property divisions they developed from, are clearly historic. Less obviously so, are the semi-natural communities, the crops and grasslands of the fields, the complexes of shrubs and herbs of the Cornish hedges, the blocks of woodlands, heath and marsh at the edges of farmland. But all are the products of human activity (in the form of exploitation and management of resources) combined with natural processes.

Semi-natural communities and natural species are not just of interest to those concerned with nature and wildlife, they also help archaeologists or landscape historians understand the development of land use regimes. In the same way a better understanding by ecologists of the historical context and management history of the communities and species they study and wish to conserve, greatly improves the quality of their work and their chances of success. The most sustainable of recent initiatives to conserve habitats or communities have been those which have been informed by knowledge of the traditional land use (grazing, coppicing, mowing etc) that helped create the particular mixes of species.

Partnerships between the Historic Environment Service, as representatives of the historic environment and bodies like Farming and Wildlife Advisory group (FWAG), the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Natural England who represent the natural environment, are certain to become closer as efforts to sustain the character, fabric and wildlife of our wonderful Cornish countryside are re-doubled in the next few years.

Central to all conservation efforts is the farming community. We are in a position to provide clear and reasonable advice to farmers and landowners not just on the historic fabric of their farms (including archaeological remains) but also advice on past land use systems.

Past sustainable land use systems - more sensitive to the potential of all the farm's parts - should be fully used to provide a model for the potential of future environmentally sustainable systems. We are committed to supporting the Cornish farming economy and society, recognising that a sustainable rural environment is dependent on a sustainable farming economy.

As part of the service we can:

  • Provide information on known archaeological and historical sites;
  • Give brief details of the basic history of the farm;
  • Provide copies of historical maps where appropriate ;
  • Give a brief outline of past land use and types on a holding ;
  • Show how a holding fits into Cornwall's wider historic landscape;
  • Advise on appropriate management requirements  and traditional land husbandry;
  • Advise on traditional building restoration ;
  • Highlight any statutory historic designations on a holding and;
  • Help with interpretation material.

We welcome any enquiries as to how we can help to make the most of the Historic Environment on all holdings. This service is available to individual landowners and farmers as well as agents and organisations.