DELEGATES from some of Britain’s most important conservation bodies will meet in the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow (Tuesday, July 6) to sign up to a unique project to save the historic sites of all Britain’s national parks – many of them the relics of old industrial workings – forever.
Representatives from 17 organisations will gather to sign a joint statement on the historic environment In The National Parks of England and Wales, a declaration of intent to further the conservation, sustainable management and public understanding and enjoyment of the historic environment of the twelve National Parks of England and Wales
The accord will be formally endorsed by the National Park Authorities of England and Wales, CADW, the Countryside Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales, English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and the Association of National Park Authorities.
Each of these organisations has some statutory responsibility for, or interests in, the historic environment in National Parks in England and Wales.
The Joint Statement sets out a 17-point action plan that will help preserve and enhance the whole historic environment of the national parks – not just scheduled monuments, listed buildings and conservation areas.
Robert White, senior archaeologist of the Dales park, comments: “The historic environment embodies the character of national ark landscapes. It is all around us. Much of it is fragile.
“If we do not protect and sustain it we risk losing important visible links with our past. This would have significant consequences for the culture and character of our National Parks.”
The historic environment is defined by the accord as “the physical evidence that we see, understand and feel for past human activity. It includes sites, monuments, landscapes, buildings and settlements as well as our appreciation and perception of them. It is the cultural product of human interaction with nature and the evidence of all past human activity”.
When the Yorkshire Dales National Park was first designated many abandoned mineral workings were considered eyesores. But today they are recognised as part of the historic environment and are popular tourist attractions.
On the morning of Wednesday 7 July, invited guests will visit the complex historic environment of Swaledale and examine the relationships between remains of lime burning, lead mining and smelting, prehistoric field systems, Dark Age boundary dykes and a massive Bronze Age enclosure and burial mound.