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.