Whether it was Howard Carter opening up Tutankhamun tomb for the first time or Edith Pretty realising what she actually had in her field at Sutton Hoo, it’s the unknowns which draw you in.
The nation’s forests are no different when it comes to the mystery and unknown of the historic environment. Hidden beneath our tree canopies are tens of thousands of sites and monuments, created by our ancestors over thousands of years. Humans have influenced and been influenced by landscapes over thousands of years and forests are no exception to this. Evidence of these interactions can be found across the nation’s forests as lasting reminders of how these areas were used, even before the trees arrived.
The nation’s forests boast nearly four percent of all nationally protected scheduled monuments found in England.
A historic landscape of variety
Our historic sites vary from prehistoric caves and religious complexes to Roman industrial sites, Medieval settlements, castles and even Second World War defence infrastructure. With 750 scheduled sites located across the nation's forests, covering around 1000 hectares, Forestry England looks to preserve, protect and share the stories of these nationally important monuments. Additionally, we look after around 100 listed buildings and 30 Registered Parks and Gardens, all of which help to tell the story of how the land has been used and changed over time.
Our approach to looking after heritage
The historic environment is an integral part of Forestry England’s approach to the management of the nation’s forests. Following UK Forestry Standards guidance, as well as the Protocol for the Care of the Government Historic Estate, we look to ensure that these nationally significant sites and monuments survive for many more years to come, whilst also allowing us to achieve other important work around habitat restoration, recreation and general forestry activity. In addition to that previously mentioned, we also look to ensure we work appropriately around more than 50,000 non-designated heritage assets which can be found across our forests.
By ensuring our historic environment is preserved for years to come, we hope to allow visitors as well as future generations to learn about and explore our shared past.
The 3D model below shows the stone foundations of a two-celled rectangular long house found on the slopes of Ennerdale in the Lake District. A design unusual to medieval region, these structures were probably the homes of the iron miners working at Clewes Gill or those involved in the smelting operation down by the lake. You can visit this site on a self-guided walk of Ennerdale.