Heritage Rankings and Cornwall

Cornwall Mining Landscape © David Gill

The RSA Heritage Index (2020) allows the ranking of local authorities through the analysis of data around key themes: Historic Built Environment, Museums, Archives and Artefacts, Industrial Heritage, Parks and Open Spaces, Landscape and Natural Heritage, Culture and Memories, and a general category.

Cornwall is ranked at 46 for local authorities in England. It is particularly strong in the general category (9), Culture and Memories (31) and Landscape and Natural Heritage (81). Surprisingly it did not have a strong showing for Industrial Heritage (229) even though the UNESCO World Heritage status has a focus on the mining heritage (‘Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape‘); the image of the Crowns on the north Cornish coast is a reminder of the dramatic setting for some of this industrial heritage. There is marked fall in the rankings for Museums, Archives and Artefacts (from 185 to 280), but a modest increase for the Historic Built Environment (from 169 to 137).

© David Gill

Jobs for a green recovery – report from Green Alliance

The Green Alliance has just published a policy insight report setting out the data and arguments for investment in a range of nature-based investments which would bring about environmental improvement, assist climate change mitigation and deliver social and economic benefits, notably in job creation for areas of the country where there is a distinct labour market challenge.

The summary report and accompanying detailed analysis include focused case studies on some specific potential actions, such as habitat restoration for bogs and seagrass, and tree planting and park creation. These specific examples within a broader approach for green jobs help to build that compelling case, especially given the downstream wider potential skills development, higher level job creation, and broad long-term societal benefits.

The detailed report shows the impacts diagrammatically.

Diagram of potential economic impacts of natural environment enhancement

There isn’t a specific read-across to the historic environment within the report, but the links can be seen – from allied research and operations associated with understanding and managing the cultural landscape as nature-based investment is made, to shared skills enhancement and longer-term job creation which benefits both the natural and historic environment.

Figure 10 in the detailed report provides a breakdown of jobs in Scotland in nature-based activities and nature-dependent sectors in 2019 with 195,300 total jobs, noting that 2% of these are specifically related to museums and cultural activities, with a further proportions being travel/recreation and hospitality-related, and natural craft skills which are intimately tied to the heritage of localities.

Figure 10 jobs breakdown
Hirst, A. & Lazarus, H (2020) Supporting a Green Recovery: an initial assessment of nature based jobs and skills. NatureScot Research Report No. 1257

Heritage Tourism in 2020: National Trust for Scotland

© David Gill, 2021

The ALVA figures for 2020 have been released. I have chosen the top 10 locations for the National Trust for Scotland where there is easily accessible data for 2019. I have not included Corrieshalloch Gorge (56,060), Ben Lomond (54,266), or Balmacara Estate & Lochalsh Woodland Garden (45,957). These 10 sites attracted 934,938 in 2020, down from 2.1 million in 2019.

Based on Top 10 sites for 2019 © David Gill, 2021

Using the Top 10 sites for 2019, the fall is from 2.1 million to 888,159 in 2020.

The figures reflect how landscapes and gardens have been used to allow the public to re-engage with heritage sites and locations.

Landguard Heritage Landscape

WW2 defences at Landguard © David Gill

The Victorian Landguard Fort stands in the middle of rich heritage landscape that marks the defence of this strategic area around (and opposite) the port of Harwich during the Second World War.

In the foreground is the base for mounting a searchlight, and behind it a pillbox. To the rear of the image, on the perimeter of the fort, are the two control towers located at Darrell’s Battery.

These features form part of the Landguard Nature Reserve.

WW2 defences at Landguard © David Gill

For details of WW2 archaeology in Suffolk.

Battle of Sedgemoor

Battle of Sedgemoor © David Gill

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset, 6 July 1685. This formed part of the unsuccessful rebellion by the Duke of Monmouth against King James II.

The battlefield site forms part of the ‘Pitchfork Rebellion Trail’ that explores the surrounding landscape.

Historic England

Heritage Duck House

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Hedingham Castle Duck House © David Gill

One of the ways that significant parts of our heritage can be protected is through the listing process of Historic England (further details here).

Duck houses form part of the ephemeral heritage of country house estates and can often be overlooked. The medieval style duck house at Hedingham Castle in Essex floats in one of the lakes created in 1720. It deliberately evokes the 12th century castle keep in the estate.

Such an unusual feature stands alongside scheduled duck decoys (e.g. Peterborough).

Walking Prehistoric Landscapes

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One of the joys of visiting Stonehenge and Avebury has been exploring the immediate vicinity of the stones. Now that the Stonehenge visitor centre has started to encourage visitors to see the structure in a wider setting, it is helpful to think about some of the ways of identifying walks and paths.

Wessex Archaeology produced Beyond Stonehenge subtitled A guide to Stonehenge and its prehistoric landscape (2nd ed. 1991). The sections are:

  • Before Stonehenge
  • The first Stonehenge
  • Stonehenge abandoned
  • The stones arrive
  • Fields and farms
  • The search for the past
  • Visitor information and guide map

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The National Trust produced a folder, Walking around Avebury (1997). The booklet part has sections on:

  • The south-western sector
  • The barber surgeon
  • The southern inner circle and other stones
  • The entrance stones and the ring stone
  • The view from the bank
  • The cover and the northern circle
  • The Swindon stone
  • John Aubrey (1626-1697)
  • William Stukeley (1687-1765)
  • Alexander Keiller (1889-1955)

Tucked into the pack are three separate leaflets:

  • The Ridgeway
  • Windmill Hill
  • Falkner’s Circle & West Kennet Avenue