The Historic Environment Team provides information and advice on the protection and enhancement of archaeological and historic features to organisations that administer land-based grant schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), such as Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and to Local Planning Authorities to inform decisions on Hedgerow Removal applications.
Devon’s beautiful and varied landscape has been shaped by many centuries of farming and land management. This landscape itself is therefore a fundamental part of Devon’s historic environment. Today’s intricate pattern of fields, lanes, woodland, farmsteads and parishes was largely in place by the medieval period. However, it also preserves strong influences from earlier ages, as well as being shaped by more recent industrial and agricultural activity.
Intake and improvement of land for farming has occurred gradually throughout human history. Some field boundaries were created in prehistoric times, whilst many curving hedgebanks in Devon are medieval in origin. Large, regular and straight-sided fields generally indicate more recent enclosure.
Traditional farmhouses and farm buildings are an essential part of the countryside and contribute greatly to its character. They can be important historically and architecturally, providing valuable information about how people lived and farmed. Some building types, such as linhays, are unique to the South West.
Much of Devon’s rich archaeological heritage lies within modern farmland. Monuments of all types and time periods are represented, from prehistoric settlements to medieval castles and Second World War defences. Landowners and managers take care of many archaeological and historic monuments and sites, but don’t always know about all of the archaeology on their land.
Key Contact: Cressida Whitton 01392 383464; firstname.lastname@example.org