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Historic Environment Projects

A number of surveys and assessments have been undertaken or commissioned by Staffordshire County Council's Historic Environment Team. These surveys have helped improve our understanding of some of the the County's most valuable and vulnerable historic landscapes, archaeology and historic buildings, allowing us to offer more informed advice on their management. Recent projects include: 

We have also undertaken a project aimed at helping us better understand the history, character and development of Staffordshire's Historic Farmsteads and are currently in the process of producing guidance for owners, planners and developers to help ensure the future of such farmsteads through appropriate sustainable development and management.

There are now Historic Environment Assessments (HEAs) for seven of our eight district councils and an Extensive Urban Survey (EUS) which covers 24 of Staffordshire's historic towns.

Staffordshire Aggregates Resource Assessment

Staffordshire is the largest county producer of land won sand and gravel in England, as well as a major producer of a range of other mineral resources. The County Council, in conjunction with Worcester County Council Historic Environment Service, are currently undertaking the first stage of a Minerals Resource Assessment (MRA) in order to better understand the archaeology of our minerals producing areas and the potential impacts of extraction upon the archaeological resource.

 This stage of the project will enhance the archaeological evidence base and provide an  resource assessment for the aggregate (sand and gravel and hard rock) producing areas of the county. This will be accompanied by a specifically focussed archaeological research agenda.

Uttoxeter Quarry The Assessment and Research Agenda produced will consider the impact of past, current and future aggregate extraction on historic environment assets in a quantifiable and systematic manner and will be used to underpin future decisions regarding strategic planning, management and preservation of heritage assets in the aggregate producing
parts of the Staffordshire Mineral Consultation Areas. 

It will also provide a framework for future work in these areas, including identifying appropriate techniques for application in programmes of evaluation and mitigation and highlighting areas where data capture is required to enhance the evidence base. In particular the project output will facilitate the development of a core mineral strategy for the County (due for delivery by 2012-13) and support the provision of consistent approaches to mineral planning across the region.

A future stage of assessment to incorporate non-aggregate minerals (coal, clay,
gypsum, etc) will be developed in an Updated Project Design for Stage 2 which will
accompany the aggregates assessment produced at the end of the current project cycle.

PDF DocumentStaffordshire Aggregates Resource Assessment Project Design (2mb)

Historic Landscape Characterisation

Between 2003 and 2006 Staffordshire County Council's Historic Environment Team produced an assessment of the historic landscape character of the county. The assessment forms part of English Heritage’s national programme of Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC).

Historic Field Systems at Grindon The HLC assessment was undertaken as desk-based project analysing historic maps, aerial photographs and a range of other data sets including the Historic Environment Record (HER) to produce a map of the historic character of the whole county. The mapping provides us with a picture of the historic components of the landscape and enables us to understand the processes that have affected the way Staffordshire's landscape looks today.

Staffordshire's HLC project has helped to improve our understanding of the County’s historic landscape as well as providing a context for its archaeological sites, monuments and historic buildings. The HLC also provides a framework for informed landscape management strategies, spatial planning, development control and conservation issues at a local, regional and national level and is used to underpin historic environment advice (for example to Natural England as part of Higher Level Stewardship Scheme applications)enabling future changes within the historic environment to be monitored and promoting sustainable development.

For more detailed mapping of Staffordshire's historic landscape character please contact our Landscape Archaeologist.

National Mapping Project - Staffordshire's Eastern River Confluences

A new National Mapping Programme (NMP) project focused on Staffordshire's Eastern River Confluences is currently being undertaken by Archaeological Research Services Ltd in Partnership with Staffordshire County Council. NMP is a standard for mapping and recording archaeological sites and landscapes from aerial photographs and other airborne remote sensed data such as lidar.

Historically Staffordshire has experienced very little in the way of coverage: yet it is a county with a rich archaeological resource which also faces a variety of impacts. One of the most significant impacts affecting archaeology in the county is mineral extraction. The bulk of the resource for this project is aimed at mapping and identifying heritage assets over the key sand and gravel and coal-producing areas, as well as the agricultural landscapes in the west of the County, and a sample of the sandstone areas. The project can also be informed by the Aggregates Resource Assessment for the county which is currently being undertaken (see above) and will also support the monitoring and assessment of Staffordshire's Scheduled Monuments.

The project will strengthen the evidence base for informing future conservation and management of heritage assets in Staffordshire and will help to manage and mitigate against the various threats that impact upon its landscapes.
The resulting information from this project will be made available to English Heritage’s Designation Team, planners, curators and the public as part of the NRHE and the Staffordshire Historic Environment Record. Dissemination of the project’s results will be given at English Heritage’s annual NMP conference and made available through web pages and regional publications.

The project will be undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 is timetabled to run for 10-11 months commencing March 2013 and finishing in January 2014, and will consist of mapping two blocks in the east of the county. Phase 2, due to run from February/March 2014 to Autumn 2014, comprises two further blocks totaling up to c.150 km² in the west of the county, although the precise location of the Phase 2 areas are still to be specified as part of an updated project design to be produced towards the end of Phase 1.

PDF DocumentNMP Staffordshire Eastern Confluences Project Design (1mb)

Staffordshire Historic School Buildings Survey

Between 2007 and 2010 Birmingham Archaeology carried out a survey of pre-1920 school buildings in Staffordshire. The work was commissioned in advance of a proposed programme of remodelling or demolition and rebuilding of a number of Staffordshire Schools as part of the Government and Local Education Authorities' 'Building Schools for the Future' initiative.

The principal objective of the study was to provide a broad brush appraisal of all of the schools within Staffordshire County Council's ownership so that the information could then be integrated with other social, economic and environmental data to shape and inform the emerging renewal strategy. This understanding of the evolution and development of Staffordshire's historic school buildings has to an extent helped identify those buildings or building types requiring further detailed intensive assessment and assisted in formulating recording priorities for historic school buildings in Staffordshire.

The study revealed a county with a diverse and interesting stock of historic school buildings, which help demonstrate the evolution of school design and form in Staffordshire from the late 18th century. The survey, which also identified recording priorities for Staffordshire's historic school building stock, was undertaken in two phases, Phase 1 examining all pre-1900 schools and Phase 2 looking at pre 1920s schools.

PDF DocumentHistoric School Building Survey Phase 1 Report (2mb)

PDF DocumentHistoric School Building Survey Phase 2 Report (2mb)

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Staffordshire Historic Water Meadows Survey

Water meadows are areas of grassland subject to controlled irrigation (or flooding). This process would fertilise land and help increase agricultural productivity. Water meadows were mainly in use between the 16th and early 20th centuries and although they have now largely gone out of use, evidence of them can still be identified in historic field patterns and as the remains of linear earthworks, water channels and sluice gates. Although historic landscape features in their own right, derelict water-meadows are also often of importance as wetland wildlife habitats.

The Staffordshire Historic Water Meadow Survey was undertaken in 2007-8 by Birmingham Archaeology in order to identify the extent of possible water meadows within the county and to assess the changing condition of water meadow sites over time. The survey included the analysis of late 19th century Ordnance Survey mapping and of aerial photography from 1963 and 2000 along the entire length of all identifiable watercourses within the county.

The survey identified a total of 182 possible water meadows within Staffordshire, with the largest concentrations being found along the major lowland rivers (the Trent, Sow and Blithe). The outputs of the survey included a map layer (for Geographic Information Systems (GIS)) showing the extent and condition of the identified water meadows, a summary report, a leaflet and a guide to recognising and recording water meadows in the field.

PDF DocumentStaffordshire Historic Water Meadows Summary Report (11mb)

PDF DocumentStaffordshire Historic Water Meadows Leaflet (1mb)

PDF DocumentA Guide to Recognising and Recording Water Meadows in the Field (2mb)

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Staffordshire Milemarkers Survey

A survey and assessment of all Staffordshire's mile markers was undertaken on behalf of the County Council by a member of the Staffordshire Branch of the Milestone Society. The aim of the survey was to assess the current condition and survival of all types of mile markers within the county (including mile posts, stones and plates) to further our understanding of this group of heritage assets within the County to help ensure their future survival and provide for their ongoing management. A comprehensive list of all Staffordshire mile markers is now included on the Staffordshire Historic Environment Record.

PDF DocumentStaffordshire Mile Markers Survey Report (40mb)

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Transforming the Trent Valley Cultural Heritage Audit

An audit of cultural heritage was undertaken for the Transforming the Trent Valley landscape partnership project. The audit, undertaken on behalf of the landscape partnership by ArcHeritage, covered an area of 200km² within the valleys of the River Trent its tributaries, the Dove and Tame, in the counties of Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

The aims of the cultural heritage audit were to produce a catalogue of recorded cultural heritage sites within the study area, drawing together exisitng documentation and recorded informtaion. The audit summarises some of the key themes represented in the valley's cultural heritage resource, which will inform interpretaon and spaal strategies for the project area, as well as the development of a landscape conservation action plan.

Outputs from the audit include a full project report and a summary report (available to download below). A GIS data package and gazetteer to accompany the reports is also available from the Staffordshire Historic Environment Record upon request (email: her@staffordshire.gov.uk).

PDF Document Transforming the Trent Valley Cultural Heritage Audit Full Report (12mb)

PDF Document Transforming the Trent Valley Cultural Heritage Audit Summary Report (3mb)

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