Cultural Landscapes Blog

A digital platform which seeks to highlight research, to engage practitioners from the field, to showcase best practices, and contribute to discussions.

Cultural Landscapes BlogWhat 'should' the future landscape of Devon be like?

What 'should' the future landscape of Devon be like?

23 August 2016/by Brian Shaw and Koen Tieskens/Tags: stakeholder engagement, local scale workhop

One of the advantages of being on the HERCULES team is that next to analyzing and discussing landscapes one gets the chance of experiencing a diversity of cultural landscapes in person. A small HERCULES team left the assembly meeting in Lesvos amidst the olive groves of Gera, to take a direct plane to South West Devon, probably one of the most beautiful HERCULES case study sites. We, however, were not there to merely enjoy the fantastic views over the rolling hills of Devon, Dartmoor National Park and the abundance of traditional hedgerows. We were to find out what the future of this landscape could be like. As it often is with valuable cultural heritage, it may take centuries to grow, but can be greatly altered in just a few decades. How does the landscape of Devon cope with the imperative of scale enlargement, the influx of amenity migrants from more urbanized areas, and the possible BREXIT? (editor: the workshop took place before the UK referendum)
What 'should' the future landscape of Devon be like?

The key to understanding processes on a local scale is often not in academic literature and government reports: it is the knowledge and behavior of local land managers and practitioners, or in HERCULES jargon: local stakeholders. What do they see as the largest threats to the quality of the landscape? How do they project the future and most importantly, what should the future landscape of Devon be like? To find answers to these questions we organized a workshop to discuss the future of the landscape,  present our preliminary findings - based on academic literature and government reports - and construct a preferred future scenario.

The importance of engaging with local stakeholders became apparent the very minute we started the workshop. Already in the introduction round several attendees let us know that they were surprised not to be involved in the process in an earlier stage of the project. How were we able to say meaningful things about the local landscape if we did not first talk to the parish council or influential groups like the Campaign to Protect Rural England? And will they ever hear from us again after this workshop?

Stakeholder engagement requires a good deal of listening, patience, and dialogue. This workshop was organized to specifically learn from these local stakeholders, to integrate their input into our models of landscape change, and we learned how important it is to communicate clearly and promptly with stakeholders beforehand so that we were all on the same page on the day. Early tensions evaporated as we got on with the business at hand, and the remainder of the workshop was extremely productive and fruitful.

One of the key insights from the stakeholders was that the landscape should not be seen as a museum of ancient farming. As conservation professional aptly put it: South West Devon is an area of outstanding agricultural beauty – not an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (a conservation designation in the U.K). Cultural heritage, biodiversity and healthy ecosystems should be protected, but only in combination with commercially viable agriculture. To ensure such a future scenario a working subsidy scheme is indispensable, but in combination with more market-driven options, such as a wood-fuel incentive for environmentally friendly hedgerow management.

We will use all the input from this workshop, and combine it with results of a survey amongst 75 land managers in South West Devon to formulate and discuss meaningful future scenarios regarding the quality of the landscape to assist local policy making.

Reports on the outcome of this study will be published on this website shortly! 


Also results of stakeholder engagement will be dicussed during the final conference of the project:

Sustainable Futures for Europe's Heritage in Cultural Landscapes:
Applying a landscape approach to land-use science and policy
October 4, 2016, 09:00-13:00, Résidence Palace, Brussels

and afternoon workshop:
Managing cultural landscapes for multiple societal values:
Insights from the European HERCULES project
October 4, 2016, 14:30-18:00, Committee of the Regions, Brussels

More information and registration >>

Tell Us What You Think:

The information and views set out in this Cultural Landscapes Blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the HERCULES project nor the European Commission.

Blog Search

Blog Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail:

Blog Archive


, CAP, Cultural Landscape Days, Cultural Landscapes, Cultural heritage, Cultural landscape values, Cultural landscapes, EFAs, ELC, EU level workshop, EU project, EU-funded project, Estonia, European Landscape Convention, European review, HERCULES project, HERCULEs, Knowledge Hub, LIFE+, Lakescape, Land use, Landscape Initiatives, Marine ecosystem, PECSRL, The Bonn Challenge, WHC, WP1, WP3, WP4, World Forest Congress, abandonment, agent-based landscape change model, agrarian landscapes, agricultural landscapes, agriculture landscapes, ancient, anthropology, archaeological site;, archaeology, biodiversity, case studies, case study, citizens, climate change, coastal ecosystem, collaborative project, community plan, cross-disciplinary, cultural capital, cultural heritage, cultural landscape change, cultural landscape typology, cultural landscape values, cultural landscapes, cultural landscapes; driving forces; ecosystem services; landscape management; socio-cultural valuation, culture, data repository, dialogue, diversity, driving forces, dynamics of change, ecological space, ecosystem services, enhancing knowledge, farmland consolidation, field boundarie, field margins, fieldwork, food, foodscapes, forest landscape restoration, forest science, forestry, free access, good management practices, greening, habitat management, heritage, heritage categorisation, heritage inventory, heritage objects, historic ships, historical ecology, human element, human well-being, ice-roads, integrated landscape initiatives, inter- and transdisciplinary integration, knowledge, labelling, land cover, land use, land-use change, landscape, landscape approach, landscape assessment, landscape change, landscape community, landscape development, landscape features, landscape governance, landscape history, landscape labelling, landscape management, landscape policies, landscape preservation, landscape resilience, landscape stewardship, landscape values, landscapes, landscapes art, local, local benefits, local initiative, local natural heritage, local scale workhop, local stakeholder engagement, local supply, long-term changes, management, mapping tool, methods, monument, national landscape, natural capital, ong-term landscape history; landscape change; landscape values; landscape stewardship, oral history, peri-urbanization, photo contest, policies, policy, pond area, prioritization exercise, procedure, reconciling interest, recreational activity, research, research project, restoration, results, revitalization, rural development, scenario, social functions, stakeholder collaboration, stakeholder engagement, stewardship, stewardship goals, stewardship; connectivity; ecological integrity and human wellbeing; ecosystem services, sustainability, synthesis, traditional and local knowledge, web GIS, well-being, wild food, wood-pastures, workshop
Back to top
Hercules Project © 2021 - All rights reserved
created by WebDeb