The West Berkshire Historic Environment Record (HER)
The primary index of the physical remains of past human activity in West Berkshire
The Historic Environment Record (HER) is a register of all known archaeological and historical sites in West Berkshire. Some of these buildings, monuments and places are designated as being nationally important or locally significant, but all elements make an important contribution to the story of our past. The register also includes information on fieldwork, found objects and documentary sources such as books, maps and unpublished reports.
The HER's computerised map shows the location of individual sites and investigations as well as the historic character of all areas of the District.
This public record is used to understand and manage the historic environment. The HER is growing all the time as archaeological work is undertaken, finds are reported and new heritage assets are identified. Copies of evidence about heritage assets affected by development proposals should be deposited with the HER.
Definitions from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2023: 70):
Historic environment: 'All aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time, including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora.'
Heritage asset: 'A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. Heritage assets include designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).'
Accessing the HER
For general use and interest, you can view many records of archaeological sites and historic buildings on the West Berkshire Council online map. Points are usually used to mark buildings or findspots, lines are used for roads and railways, and polygons are used for large areas and sites. If you click on any of these map features, a pop-up box will appear with information on what it is. If you click on the 'more info' link at the bottom of the pop-up box, it will open up the HER record on the Heritage Gateway online portal.
Alternatively, searches can start from the Heritage Gateway; this online resource includes many different national and local datasets, including those maintained by Historic England and other local authorities. We provide a step-by-step guide on how to search it for West Berkshire historic environment information here: .
Please note that the Heritage Gateway is not suitable for desk-based assessments and work related to development, planning and land-use changes. For these purposes and all other commercial enquiries, please complete the online HER enquiry form to contact the Archaeology team directly. The National Planning Policy Framework emphasises the importance of consulting the relevant HER prior to the submission of planning applications. We also recommend obtaining archaeological planning advice.
For in-depth academic research, please contact the Archaeology team using the online HER enquiry form.
For access to the HER's reference material and other sources, please contact the Archaeology team for advice.