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Managing the Historic Environment

Advice for communities and landowners on managing, protecting, understanding and enhancing heritage sites in West Berkshire

There are many factors that can affect the historic environment, and we encourage landowners and communities to undertake positive management to make sure that our heritage assets are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Definitions from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2021: 67):

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).'

A useful starting point for this is the Icon for pdf West Berkshire Historic Environment Action Plan [4MB] , a document that:

  • highlights what is special about the historic environment of West Berkshire
  • examines the key challenges faced in protecting our historic environment
  • explores opportunities for the future
  • establishes actions that can be taken, and how they are prioritised

Information and advice on national historic environment management issues can be found on Historic England's Local Management pages.

Landowners and farmers

If you're a landowner or farmer, there may be funding available for site management through the Countryside Stewardship scheme. Applicants should consult the Senior Archaeologist for advice on managing their heritage assets.


Local communities have a real opportunity to influence change in their neighbourhoods through the creation of Community Plans (also known as Parish Plans) and Village, Town and Parish Design Statements (VDS). These offer a chance to engage with the historic environment and make sure that heritage assets of local significance are recognised and valued. A useful guide for including heritage in local plans is the Historic England advice note; Knowing Your Place.

Many parishes in West Berkshire have produced Community Plans that include historic environment objectives as actions, such as providing guides or trails for heritage assets in their village, or researching local history. Useful advice and links on how to get started with a plan can be found on the West Berkshire Community Planning page.

Preventing Heritage Crime

Another important aspect of historic environment management is ensuring that heritage assets are protected from criminal damage, such as lead theft from historic churches, illegal metal detecting or Fly-tipping on archaeological sites. The Heritage Crime initiative has been set up by Historic England, the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to combat criminal activity that directly or indirectly affects heritage assets. Proactive local engagement is an essential aspect of this initiative. 

Information and advice on both locally and nationally important heritage assets can be obtained from the Archaeology team and by consulting the West Berkshire Historic Environment Record. You can also let us know about new findings, tell us about the condition of sites, monuments and buildings, and report any other heritage issues to us using our online form.

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