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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Historic Environment?

Newton Arlosh Church

The historic environment consists of the physical remains of our history and is made up of a variety of elements; it includes the character of the historic landscape, buried archaeological remains, preserved evidence of the past environment such as ancient pollen grains in peat bogs, above ground ruins and standing, functioning buildings. Parts of this environment are protected as designated sites or areas; these include listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parts and conservation areas.

What is a Listed Building?

Listed buildings are structures considered to be of special architectural or historic interest that are included on a list compiled by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. There are three different grades of listed building: Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, Grade II* buildings are particularly important and of more than special interest and Grade II buildings are of special interest. Grade II listed buildings are the most numerous comprising 96% of the total of all listed buildings and policies for their protection, as with structures in conservation areas, are implemented through the local planning authorities and their specialist conservation officers. The management of change affecting grade I and II* listed buildings is the responsibility of English Heritage. Any works which may lead to the alteration of a listed building will require Listed Building Consent from the relevant authority.

Follow this link for the national database of all listed buildings in England

What is a Scheduled Monument?

Scheduled monuments are nationally important archaeological sites and monuments that are given legal protection by being placed on a schedule by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Any work which might affect a scheduled monument will require Scheduled Monument Consent from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Scheduled monuments in Cumbria range in nature from prehistoric stone circles to Cold War military remains. Advice concerning scheduled monuments should be obtained from English Heritage and they have the statutory responsibility for the management of such monuments.

For further information on Scheduled Monuments follow this link for English Heritage

Hadrian's Wall is a World Heritage Site - what does this mean?

The Roman monument known as Hadrian's Wall is a scheduled monument and also a World Heritage Site. This status confirms that Hadrian's Wall is of international importance, with the same significance as the Great Wall of China or Stonehenge. Whilst is has no greater degree of protection than any other scheduled monument, far greater consideration is given to the adverse impact of developments within the visual envelope around the monument. The County Council assists English Heritage in managing change within the historic environment of the environs of Hadrian's Wall.

Follow this link for information on Hadrian's Wall

Do we encourage metal detecting on known archaeological sites?

No, except on occasion where a metal detecting survey forms part of a structured programme of archaeological investigation, as for example at excavations carried out on Viking graves at Cumwhitton in 2004 by Oxford Archaeology North. Elsewhere, the detecting of known archaeological sites can lead to the destruction of important information through the removal of an object from the soil. The detecting and removal of an object from a scheduled monument would be considered to constitute damage to the monument and is thus a criminal offence liable to prosecution. Nevertheless, we recognise the valuable contribution made by metal detector users in locating previously unknown sites, provided the information about their discoveries is passed on to become part of the Historic Environment Record. This can be done through contacting the Historic Environment Record Officer directly ( or the local Portable Antiquities Scheme Officer by following the link below:

Portable Antiquities Scheme

Do we take volunteers?

Occasionally we will take university, college or school students on work experience placements. Anyone interested in a placement should contact us ( through their school, college or university.

Do we undertake fieldwork?

We do not carry our fieldwork projects. We advise others on carrying our such work and may assist in setting up projects. We do monitor work being undertaken by other organisations as part of our role to encourage and develop high standards in archaeological fieldwork in the county.

Do we provide grants for Historic Environment Conservation and Research?

We do not operate a formal grant scheme for either research or conservation works. Occasionally we may directly commission small research or outreach programmes but we will not normally fund work initiated by an outside body. Small grants may be given, if our funding permits, to assist with programmes of conservation of heritage management works, but usually only when such monies will form part of a larger funding package.

Is there a charge for our services?

No charge is made for providing advice concerning the county's historic environment. There is no fee for consulting the HER for a member of the public undertaking personal or academic research. Copies of record entries will be charged at 20p per page, however, for small searches (up to 50 records searched). Larger searches will incur a 10 charge for staff time in addition to the 20p per page for copied record entries. Commercial consultants will be charged a consultation fee for staff time of a minimum of 10 (inclusive of 10 copied records) with a further 1 for every additional record copied. In addition there is an agreed national rate for the provision of information for Farm Environment Plans (FEP's); this is 75 for an area up to 50ha and 150 for an area over 50ha.