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Supporting Local Solutions in Cornwall

Partners across Cornwall have a strong track record in proactive management of the historic environment, developing solutions tailored to local assets and issues, and seizing opportunities to try out new approaches. Here are some examples we’re delighted to have helped with. 

St Buryan Churchyard Cross, Cornwall
Recently repaired, St Buryan's Churchyard Cross is an important example of one of Cornwall's distinctive early Celtic Crosses. © Historic England

Cornwall Historic Environment Distinctiveness and Significance Project

Cornwall is distinctively different from anywhere else. Understanding this distinctiveness is the vital first step in managing change in a way which promotes and enhances what makes Cornwall special.

In July 2015 the Government and Cornwall Council signed the ‘Cornwall Deal’, the first rural devolution agreement. The Deal included the establishment of Heritage Kernow (Ertach Kernow), the strategic partnership for the historic environment of Cornwall, which brings partners together to improve understanding, interpretation and stewardship of the culturally distinctive historic character and heritage assets of Cornwall.

Heritage Kernow, with the support of Historic England, have commissioned a study of Cornish distinctiveness, which will identify how cultural distinctiveness is represented in the historic environment. In consultation with stakeholders, the project will then develop guidance to help identify and manage heritage assets in Cornwall to best reflect their distinctive character.

The study will be published later this year. To keep up to date follow our Twitter account.

Cornish Bridges Heritage Partnership Agreement

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 included four heritage protection reforms aimed at improving efficiency without reducing protection. One of them – Heritage Partnership Agreements (HPA) - allow the owner of a listed building and their local authority to agree and specify routine works which, if carried out correctly, will not harm the building’s special interest. In avoiding the need for repetitive applications for straightforward work, HPAs save valuable time and resources. This approach was successfully piloted in Cornwall. An HPA for minor repairs to historic bridges, milestones and wayside crosses included an agreed repair approach and removed the need for repeat consent applications, useful for structures frequently damaged by traffic. This reduced bureaucracy and helped the local authority to carry out appropriate repairs quickly and efficiently.

Damage to Ruthern Bridge, Cornwall
Damage to Ruthern Bridge, Cornwall © Historic England

Better energy efficiency in traditional Cornish buildings

From 2008, the HLF-funded Townscape Heritage Initiatives in the former mining settlements of Camborne, Roskear and Tuckingmill included key research into the best way to improve energy efficiency in historic buildings. The scheme involved Cornwall Council, Historic England’s conservation team and students on Cornwall College’s BSc Renewable Energy and Carbon Management course working together to monitor a range of sympathetic energy saving measures and to evaluate performance. The findings informed Cornwall Council's 2016 guidance 'Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Cornish Buildings.'

Students learning about energy efficiency in historic buildings as part of the Camborne THI project
Students learning about energy efficiency in historic buildings as part of the Camborne THI project, 2011 © Cornwall Council

Volunteers tackle Heritage at Risk

Mawgan Porth Dark Age settlement dates to the early medieval period and is exceptionally rare, especially in Cornwall. The fact that the settlement is associated with a cemetery adds greatly to the site’s importance, because this combination is not found anywhere else in Cornwall. The site was vulnerable to scrub growth and the potential threat of development, but has now been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register after a group of volunteers, supported by Historic England, raised funds to buy tools, weed killer and grass seed to clear the scrub and grow grass on the site.

Volunteers clearing scrub at Mawgan Porth Dark Age Settlement
Volunteers clearing scrub at Mawgan Porth Dark Age Settlement © Historic England
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