Historic landscapes are often overlooked when the historic environment is being assessed. Archaeological monuments and historic buildings are listed in national or local inventories and provide the baseline information for most studies, but the development of the historic landscape and how the different heritage assets articulate within it, requires analysis and interpretation which is often missing from Environmental Statements or other desk studies. This makes such studies less robust or able to withstand scrutiny.
Designation of historic landscapes is not applied equally through all parts of the UK, but various types of historic landscapes are included within various statutory and local protection measures. Planning guidance also expects an understanding of the historic landscape to be part of due process, and there can be elements of that landscape which would be defined as heritage assets even if not listed individually in any local or national inventory.
The character of the historic landscape, the style of land division and land use within it, communication routes through it, intangible influences such as literary or artistic inspriations and sacred space, all reflect traditional practices that should be included as part of cultural heritage assessment. At HHD&C we believe that heritage assets are not isolated points to be assessed on their own, but instead form a relationship with the past and present landscape which together informs their heritage significance and how this might be changed by development.