3rd Workshop in Colmenar Viejo, Spain on Good Landscape Practices

2015-10-01

After productive discussions in the 1st and 2nd HERCULES Workshop in Colmenar Viejo (Spain) hints and experiences of restoration, conservation and promotion of the cultural and natural heritage were discussed in the third workshop held on October 1st,, 2015.

The aim of the workshop was to share and discuss the importance of cultural heritage in the personal and social well-being and to illustrate the complexity of heritage restoration.

It was structured in 5 parts: 4 presentations and a short debate at the end. It started with a short introduction of HERCULES and the objectives of the local workshops. The 2nd presentation compiled the most important heritage conservation practices held in Colmenar Viejo in the last decades. The 3rd presentation held a description of the industrial heritage elements in Colmenar Viejo and suggested to safeguard landscape values. Finally, the restoration of an emblematic medieval bridge in Colmenar Viejo was discussed.

The debate was held in different groups in a relaxed ambience. The questions raised were the following; Heritage for whom? What makes an element in landscape heritage? Who should restore and maintain the heritage? What to do with the heritage that is not interesting for broader organisations but is for the locals? And How to promote heritage?

The following issues and challenges were mentioned by participants:

- The problem of the conservation of dry stonewalls in the region was raised again. The bad practice of building high security wired fences that close the access to the landscape for people and animals was also mentioned.

- The problem of maintaining the restored heritage. Many times when the regional bodies restore heritage it is the duty of the local government to maintain it, but they do not have the capacity to deal with this.

- The problem of starting the restoration without concluding it because it damages the heritage. It is important to be sure that there are the means and the money to finish the restoration before anything is touched and left vulnerable.

- The problem of vandalism. Graffiti on the heritage.

- The problem of the involvement of multiple administrative and conservation bodies at many levels. that requires time (years) and money to be coordinated and give licences.

- The problem of the heritage that is not included as a public good. Sometimes public organisation recognises the element as theirs and the private owner is not to be found so nothing can be done.

- The necessity of getting the Canal de Isabel II (public water organism) to collaborate and use their Foundation to restore the mills and fulling houses along the Manzanares River. 

- The importance of heritage as a nexus between the people and their landscape. And to show young generation how a natural resource (water) can be used without destroying the environment.

- The importance of getting the active collaboration of all stakeholders affected by the restoration in order to make sure that it will succeed and have a long lasting effect.

Cadena Ser (2015): Colmenar Viejo celebra el Día Europeo de los Paisajes Culturales a través del Proyecto HERCULES. Speaks Belén Colmenarejo García (Municipality’s environment officer). Article and radio report. 30.09.2015.

Link: http://www.sermadridnorte.com/noticias/colmenar-viejo-celebra-el-dia-europeo-de-los-paisajes-culturales-a-traves-del-proyecto-hercules_53097/

Cronica Norte (2015): Colmenar Viejo celebra el Día Europeo de los Paisajes Culturales, Online Newspaper. 01.10.2015.

Link: http://www.cronicanorte.es/colmenar-viejo-celebra-el-dia-europeo-de-los-paisajes-culturales/91880

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