English Heritage Award
Celebrating a Commendation from English Heritage
The East Devon AONB Partnership have been awarded a Commendation Certificate in the annual English Heritage Angel Awards. The awards celebrate the efforts of local people saving England's heritage and are sponsored by Andrew Lloyd Webber who chairs the event.The Judges who administer the Award said: "The competition this year was extremely tough and unfortunately you have not been shortlisted for an Award. However, your application was very strong and as a reflection of the quality of the application you have been awarded a Certificate of Commendation."
Through three of our Culture and Heritage projects, namely 'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson', 'Unlocking Our Coastal Heritage' and 'Monument Management Scheme' and with the help of local volunteers, the AONB Partnership has been working on the following six Scheduled Ancient Monuments at Risk:
1. Farway Castle
2. High Peak
3. Berry Camp
4. Littlecombe Shoot Prehistoric Field System
5. A Barrow on Broad Down
6. A Barrow on East Hill
These sites were chosen as they are being badly damaged by the invasion of birch trees, gorse, bramble and bracken. The growth of these plants within a scheduled site causes serious harm to the underground archaeology and masks their presence within the landscape. The site at High Peak was until recently covered in commercial forestry, but working closely with the landowner, Clinton Devon Estates, we have been able to remove these and push the replanting boundary away from the scheduled site. However, the area is also threatened by coastal erosion so a 'rescue recording' has been organised to help us understand the history of the site before it ultimately gets claimed by the sea. Removal of the scrub cover has also exposed the extent of damage being caused by burrowing animals, something that can now be addressed.
The rationale of our work has always been to involve local people with these rescues, partly to share our discoveries but also to engender in them a sense of ownership. Volunteer work parties have been busy helping to clear scrub from the various sites and teamed up with archaeological specialists to record the rescued sites. Guided walks over these newly rescued sites meant more access for more people and this helps to encourage greater volunteer numbers. We will also be providing interpretation of these sites on-line, in the form of leaflets and through interpretation boards.
To date the project has delivered 1700 volunteeer hours of work in clearing these sites, telling other people about them and researching historical documents to enhance our understanding of them. We have led more than 280 people over these scheduled sites in our endeavours to aid their understanding and have arranged for school students to visit the rescue recordings.
Partnership with the various landowners has been vital to our achievements. Their good will in allowing us onto their land to carry out the works, assisting us with their machinery in some of the heavier tasks, such as removing all the cut scrub to a site where it could be disposed of and felling the larger trees which our bow saws could not cope with, has been much appreciated.
We also wish to thank the Devon branch of English Heritage and Devon Historic Environment Service for their support.