Conservation of Dartmoor’s archaeological heritage and enhancement of its significance

What does success look like?

Dartmoor’s cultural heritage is protected, well managed and in good condition.  The significance of the historic environment will be understood by both those living and working on Dartmoor and by visitors.

The historic environment will be appropriately managed using sustainable, local techniques whilst also incorporating the best modern techniques. The Premier Archaeological Landscapes (PALs) and other areas of high significance will be managed as a priority concern, but elsewhere the management of the historic environment will be carefully integrated into other conservation projects and concerns.

Dartmoor’s rich historic environment will be actively researched and shared by both academic institutions and local interest societies and community groups.

How will this be achieved?

We will achieve the protection, good management and better understanding of Dartmoor’s archaeological heritage implementing the process for assessing strategic historic environment priorities, to guide decision making where there may be potential competing priorities in relation to other conservation objectives:

  • From 2022, refine the Archaeological Significance and Constraint Assessment Methodology (“SigCon”) and implement it more widely. This approach was developed in 2021 and is intended to mitigate potential negative impacts of non-archaeological, landscape-scale conservation initiatives while also facilitating their operations.

Dartmoor’s stakeholders will achieve better management and condition by identifying and implementing sustainable management techniques for designated and non-designated archaeological features

  • From 2022 we will focus resources to provide additional advice to landowners and land managers around sustainable management of cultural heritage in priority areas
  • By the end of 2023 we will have assessed the impact of winter cattle grazing regimes for improving the condition of archaeological assets and will provide appropriate resource and advice
  • Continue to support the use of targeted grazing in maintaining and improving the condition of archaeological assets.

Partners will ensure that cultural and natural heritage outcomes are delivered together, holistically. We will achieve improved understanding and recording of the condition of Dartmoor’s designated and non-designated archaeological features through a rolling programme of field assessment by staff and volunteers, including:

  • By the end of 2023 we will have established a team of trained, local volunteers to undertake a programme of condition assessment covering all heritage asset types across all parts of the National Park
  • By the end of 2024 we will have completed the outstanding surveys of the Premier Archaeological Landscapes (PALs)
  • From 2022 we will implement the Dartmoor Archaeological Condition Database which will inform future conservation work
  • Continue to work with Historic England to maintain an up-to-date Heritage at Risk Register and to work in partnership with stakeholders, local conservation groups and volunteers to seek resources to remove 40 at risk scheduled monuments from the register by 2025

We will achieve better management of the most significant historic environment areas by undertaking a review of PALs, identify new PALs and explore the prospect for formal designation of PALs so that they continue to be recognised by all agencies and stakeholders working on Dartmoor

  • By the end of 2023 complete a review on the concept of PALs. The review will assess their impact, effectiveness and role in protecting the Historic Environment
  • By the end of 2024 all outstanding PAL surveys will have been completed
  • By the end of 2025 all PALs will be identified, be incorporated into new ELMS, be recognised in landscape scale conservation projects, and under a proactive management scheme to achieve good condition.

Partners will achieve good condition and management of the historic environment by ensuring cultural heritage is a key focus of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), by:

  • From 2022 we will work in partnership to ensure that the future ELMS scheme gives due consideration to the historic environment and provides farmers and land managers with appropriate payment for the management and enhancement of the historic environment.