Historic environments

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Our National Parks might look natural but these truly amazing landscapes have been shaped by human activity over many thousands of years.

Historic environments, including ancient standing stones, country houses, castles and more, are an important part of what makes our National Parks so special. An abundance of historical ruins and lack of intensive developments in our National Parks allows us to learn from the past and delve into our rich history.

How we look after our historic environments

We keep detailed records of all the historic sites within National Parks. Our staff and volunteers visit the sites regularly to see what state they are in and to look for anything that might damage them. We also work with landowners and our partners to help protect any vulnerable sites; this could mean keeping grazing animals away or even rebuilding structures.

Thurne Mill at sunset, Broads National Park

We help train people in traditional building techniques, like thatching, dry stone walling or being a millwright, so they have the skills to repair and maintain historic structures.

Our archaeologists also carry out digs and surveys to explore new and existing sites. When new building work is proposed in a National Park, our archaeologists often take the chance to do a dig to see if any new remains are found.

Our planning departments also ensure that future developments within National Park boundaries are not detrimental to the historic environment and are in keeping with the heritage of the local area.

How we help others enjoy our historic environments

We want everyone who visits or lives in a National Park to be able to enjoy our history.

We work with landowners to allow the public access to visit historical sites, we give guided walks and talks and produce signs, leaflets and publications to help explain the stories of the people who lived in the National Parks in the past.

Our archaeologists carry out digs, working with archaeology groups and volunteers, and we put on archaeology conferences that anyone can come to.

We work with partners

We work with lots of other organisations to protect our historic sites, like English Heritage, Scottish Natural Heritage, the National Trust and private landowners. This report from English Heritage shows how the National Parks in England, working with partners, help look after our historic environments.

Some highlights of our historical sites