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Ecology, archaeology, landscape architects and architects at the South West Land and Heritage Symposium at The Garden House, Devon

South West Land and Heritage Symposium

The South West Land and Heritage Syposium at The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Devon

Land and Heritage have just hosted the first South West Land and Heritage Symposium at The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Devon. This networking event brought together professionals from the land heritage sector including gardeners, landscape architects, ecologists and archaeologists to highlight a few.

The South West Land and Heritage Symposium delegates at The Garden House, Devon

Simon Humphreys, Director of Land and Heritage, opened with these words:

Stephen Lees and I have managing woodlands since the 1980’s. Firstly for a wide range of woodland owners and in more recent years as owners ourselves. We take great care to only to acquire woodlands which meet our strict criteria, and which we feel we can restore and improve. Looking after a woodland for any period of time you learn to appreciate its own peculiar characteristics and requirements. Before long you are left with a nagging doubt. Did we choose the woodland or did the woodland choose us? The woodland cycle takes many centuries. We are privileged to play only a small and brief part in this continuous process.

Trying to understand the relationship between people and place is key. Understanding the relationship of people and place through time is even more important.

So, seeing how Matt Jackson worked through Black Sheep Consultants, we realised that we could broaden our vision of landscape management to include parkland, gardens and historic houses, and so Land and Heritage came together.

Our landscape is small and intricate. A rich fabric of features formed by generation upon generation of our forebearers. This is the heritage we cherish. Now is OUR time. Our brief period of stewardship so someone else can take it forward in the future.

But what a time to take on this role.  Never has there been a wider chasm between:

* Food and the farm

* City dweller and our wild life

* Forest and timber

* People and place

Globalisation accelerates at an ever-increasing speed, decimating our countryside with catastrophic pathogens, invasive species, soil loss and inappropriate development. Our time has seen the most devastating mass extinction of species since life began. Our time sees climate change bringing challenges which we don’t even know how to avoid or mitigate.

We must all do whatever we can to find our way through the “interesting” times in which we find ourselves. We all need to work together at all levels to address these. That is why Land and Heritage is starting a series if networking events to address issues of environmental concern and bringing together groups of concerned professionals from a wide range of backgrounds to explore local and regional solutions. One step at a time. We are better informed and better equipped than previous generations. We have growing public support and goodwill, but never has the challenge been so great or so urgent.

Ecology, archaeology, landscape architects and architects at the South West Land and Heritage Symposium at The Garden House, Devon

This is the first of a regular series of symposia aimed at professional development within the land and heritage sector. The next one will be aimed at architects and landscape architects and will focus on enabling development within complex heritage sites with multiple designations. If you are interested please get in touch here

In attendance were representatives from; Land and Heritage National Trust, Natural England, Ancient Tree Forum, Historic England, AC Archaeology, Devon Gardens Trust, Institute of Horticulture, Rolfe Planning Partnership, Richard Sneesby Landscape Architects, Halliday Farming Partnership, Beside The Box, Mark Lamey Gardens, The Garden House, plus independent consultants and specialists.

Wetland Restoration on Goss Moor NNR

Rewetting already spreading from the Pendine ditch

Our contracting team have recently completed a “Peatland Hydrological Restoration Project” for Natural England at Goss Moor National Nature Reserve in Cornwall.  The aim was mainly to raise the water table locally, and also introduce some natural meandering processes in to the River Fal.  The chosen methods on this occasion were a series of leaky dams on side drains and flow deflectors on the river channel.  Longer term, the site manager, Steve Hall, would prefer to see beavers doing the work. Continue reading

The Protection of Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees from Development

Trenant Wood, Cornwall

Natural England and the Forestry Commission first produced a statement of Standing Advice” for veteran trees and ancient woodlands” back in 2014.  Standing advice is a ‘material’ planning consideration, meaning that planning authorities must take the advice into account when making decisions on relevant planning applications.  Since the advice was first issued there have been no less than 7 updates or changes to the advice given, so make sure you are up to date! Continue reading

Keeping trees safe and well; what’s expected of owners and managers?

Oak tree in the landscape at Bodnant garden

A mature oak tree frames a vista on the lawn at Bodnant Garden, North Wales

What makes a tree safe?

When it comes to working on trees it is often a highly emotive subject, especially when they are in very public places, and have powerful connections to community. When a tree fails it can have devastating effect, and yet it is common to see sadly unnecessary interventions to healthy trees, simply on the grounds of ‘safety’.

Professional tree inspectors never assess a tree as safe, they will weigh up many factors to judge likelihood of failure. As a complex natural organism, there are external signs that an inspector can use to determine tree health, from a simple bulge in the trunk to a fruiting fungal body within the tree. A rounded bulge to one side can indicate internal decay, or a vertical rib can mean that a long internal crack is present, each of which can alter the structural capabilities. There are aggressive fungi and passive ones, each having  unique decay outcomes, telling us much more about the complex event.
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Bats In My Belfry

Glynllifon Mansion, which has a Grade 1 listed garden where Land and Heritage is advising on the restoration.

Plas Glynllifon

Plas Glynllifon is a large country house and park near Caernarfon in North Wales situated between the peaks of Snowdonia and the sea. Mountain streams gush over boulders through wooded valleys, past long abandoned copper mines and quarries. This combination of habitats is perfect territory for lesser horseshoe bats (Rhinolphus hipposideros) and the area has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) supporting over 6% of the total UK population. The designation applies to a series of old buildings which provide roosting and rest sites.
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