Written by: Greensand Country Team
The heritage skills project oversaw a number of different projects, with two main aims for the overall Historic Skills remit: share skills and embed knowledge about conservation into the public and the planning system.
The main outputs for the project were a brush cutting course run by Flitwick Town Council, training by The Gardens Trust on how to interpret designed landscapes, a course by sandstone expert Chris Garrand for council officers, an ‘Enhancing Sense of Place’ presentation produced by Alison Myers, and a sandstone structure manual written by Brian Kerr.
All of the project outputs were achieved, apart from the sandstone course by Chris Garrand, which had to be cancelled due to Covid in March 2020. However, his expertise was included in the Network and Skills project, so the output simply shifted from this project to Network and Skills.
We are particularly pleased that we have up-skilled new people, both with brush cutter training and workshops on understanding historic designed landscapes. Equally, the resources produced by Brian Kerr and Alison Myers will be long lasting, and the latter will embed the significance of sandstone heritage within the planning system.
Benefits to People
Up-skilling volunteers through the Gardens Trust workshops and the brush cutter course has given them skills that are useful in understanding and actively conserving landscapes and habitats within Greensand Country.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
Heritage is better understood from this project, as it improved understanding of heritage skills and the sandstone and historic parkland heritage of Greensand Country.
This project has allowed the heritage of the landscape, both the designed landscape and sandstone heritage, to be better understood. The manual produced by Brian Kerr aims to make this more understandable for the public, whilst the ‘Enhancing Sense of Place’ presentation by Alison Myers will embed knowledge and understanding of this heritage within the local planning system. The development of the landscape will thus be informed by awareness of the unique heritage and how this can be preserved.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
The major challenge for this project was getting sustained engagement with the historic landscapes training. Whilst we had a relatively good attendance at the workshops, this interest wasn’t sustained by the GCLP after the training finished, thereby limiting the benefit of passing on skills.
Volunteer tasks around historic parkland should have been maintained as a regular output, to ensure that volunteers remain engaged with the training they have received. Their skills could have been used to communicate about the other historic parkland projects.