Better for Cultural Heritage

Delivering the Vision

This section of the Management Plan focuses on ‘Celebrated and enhanced: Dartmoor’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage is better understood, valued and looked after.’, it is significant also in delivering; A warm welcome for all, A great place to live and work and Carbon negative.

Introduction

Dartmoor is internationally renowned as a rich cultural landscape, with evidence of thousands of years of human interaction from at least the Mesolithic period to present day. Archaeological remains range from Bronze Age cists, stone rows and hut circles to deserted medieval settlement and field-systems, and the remains of the tin-mining industry.

The history and culture of Dartmoor National Park is written in its buildings, public spaces, historic landscapes and towns and villages. This architectural legacy is widely celebrated for its uniqueness and variety, forming a local Dartmoor ‘vernacular’ influenced by the availability of local building materials and techniques, and the local climate.

The National Park is also rich in intangible cultural heritage, having many distinctive local traditions, festivals, markets and celebrations, oral histories, customs and skills. These skills and traditions have helped shape the National Park as we see it today and their continuation is essential in conserving and enhancing the special qualities of Dartmoor. Dartmoor has been a source of inspiration for artists since the 18th century and continues to inspire present-day makers, writers and artists.

There are a variety of threats to Dartmoor’s cultural heritage, including: climate change; lack of or inappropriate management; and recreational pressure. In addition, many heritage assets are not identified or designated and therefore are less easy to protect. Increasing understanding of, and engagement with, this cultural heritage is central to building a positive future: by understanding cultural heritage people will value it; by valuing it they will want to care for it; by caring for its people will be able to enjoy it; and from enjoying it comes a desire to understand it better.

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