«Bosworth Battlefield: The Way Forward Final: August 2013 Alison Farmer Associates 29 Montague Road Cambridge CB4 1BU af in ...»
• Potential loss of field ponds due to filling in and scrub development or isolation of ponds from other habitats due to intensive arable farming and subsequent eutrophication34 of water
• Drainage of farmland, particularly former fen areas, resulting in a loss of meadow habitat and of valuable evidence which could be used to understand the original extent of fen at the time of the Battle
• Gripping of road verges and inappropriate mowing regimes reducing nature conservation value
• Lack of woodland management in Ambion wood – resulting in an underused resource and a potential health and safety issue relating to trees and permissive access
• Silting up of canal due to overhanging trees
• Conservation Area status for large areas of land around Shenton may result in a decline in woodland management due to increased planning costs
• Grass verge erosion due to car parking at King Richard's Field and south of Shenton Station in part due to car park charges at the Heritage Centre and Shenton Station
• Dog fouling on country lanes and footpaths (particularly tow path) and fly tipping and litter on country lanes and along footpaths undermines unspoilt rural character of the area Lack of free car parking within the area has led to regular verge side parking, causing serious erosion and health and safety issues.
Change affecting visual character of area
• Potential for new development – the adopted Core Strategy35 identifies a housing requirement for Stoke Golding of 60 dwellings. However a planning application for 59 dwellings was approved in 2010 and 2011 and the development is currently under construction
• In addition development proposals within the vicinity of the Battlefield include development of the MIRA site to the south-west associated with an Enterprise Zone and a potential composting site on Fenn Lane
• On average there are 2–4 planning applications a year that may have a physical landscape or visual effect on the Battlefield and/or its setting.
• The subtle topographic changes which contribute to changes in local landscape character are vulnerable to potential changes in landform e.g. bunding or built development such as new large scale buildings which may alter perceptions and appreciation “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.” (Art, 1993) Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, 2009, Local Development Framework Core Strategy and Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) Review 2010
• Past planning decisions at the Heritage Centre have adversely affected the wider landscape e.g. car park on Ambion Hill (particularly when full) and white tent on Ambion Parva (now replaced with a green/ grey marquee)
• The growth of villages may result in loss of individual identity and potential for coalescence - particularly Dadlington and Stoke Golding and may cause visual intrusion adversely affecting the character of the landscape and battlefield area
Communal value includes the meanings of a place for the people who relate to it, or for whom it figures in their collective experience or memory. People may draw identity from the place or have emotional links to it.
this has recently been relocated to the Battlefield Centre pending possible further relocation to the Fenn Lane Area
• Sutton Cheney Church has been unofficially designated as 'The Battlefield Church' and is a focus for commemoration of the fallen. The church contains several commemorative items funded by the Richard III Society
• Footpaths through the area are valued for opportunities for quiet relaxation and reflection Social
• Village residents and local landowners draw a strong sense of identity and pride from the Battlefield - 'this is where history was made'
• There is a strong continuity in the farming community - many farms have been managed within the same families for generations resulting in a wealth of knowledge and strong sense of belonging
• There are opportunities for people to engage with the environment - Country Trust Education Centre, located at Fenn Lane Farm, provides environmental education for inner city children and farm walks are run at Shenton Estate and Fenn Lane Farm providing the general public with access to areas not usually publicly accessible
• The Ambion Way and Leicestershire Round long distance routes connect the Battlefield with a wider context
• Bosworth Battlefield is one of only three battlefield sites in England which have outstanding interpretive facilities37 in the form of a Heritage Centre which is a key attraction and local facility
• The Heritage Centre offers volunteering and training opportunities for local residents
• The Ashby Canal, The Wharf, Shenton village and the Battlefield Line are all popular destinations that are physically ‘linked’ and appeal to families Economic
• The landscape comprising the Registered Battlefield and its wider setting is important in providing economic farming units and provides considerable local employment
• Local produce is made and sold in the area including beef, pork, chicken, eggs as well as cheese
• Cheese made at Upton includes two named after the Battle - Bosworth Field and Battlefield Blue which are sold throughout the UK and internationally
• Other local businesses include livery, bed and breakfast, pubs, antique centre, steam train, boat trips, tea rooms, Stoke Golding airfield and farm shops
• The Heritage Centre is a key employer in the area
Issues affecting Communal Value:
• The potential visual and aural impact of large development or activity which may affect the quiet, rural and tranquil character of the area and the intangible spiritual quality of this landscape
• Potential for increased visitor numbers and difficulty in finding easily accessible locations within the battlefield area for quiet contemplation
• Sense of belonging undermined by perceptions of having 'no say' in how the area changes in the future Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre won the Classic Award in the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2009, East Midlands Tourism England Excellence Awards (Bronze) for small visitor attraction 2008 Heritage centre and was Highly Commended in VisitEngland Tourism Awards in 2012 Enjoyment and understanding
• The current Battlefield Heritage Centre has become physically remote and, past signage and interpretation in the wider landscape is now out of date and confusing to the visitor. This follows the archaeological survey which located the main activity of the battle around Fenn Lane
• There is a lack of interpretation within geographical parts of the Battlefield and limited orientation and directional signage
• Road safety issues occur due to the differing road users (drivers, walkers, cyclists and horse riders), speed of traffic and nature of humped back bridges over the canal and railway which create blind spots to oncoming traffic
• Poor siting of limited car parks in surrounding landscape due to re-interpretation of location of the battle
• There is limited physical access to key Battlefield sites (e.g. Crown Hill) and limited access to higher viewing areas to appreciate the extent and character of the Battlefield landscape and context
• The disused railway has been identified as a multi functional recreational route in the Green Infrastructure Strategy. It is in multiple land ownership and has varied use, including storage of disused vehicles, and this, coupled with the loss of the railway bridge over Fenn Lane, means that the route is physically fragmented. Its potential use as a recreational route would therefore require cooperation between landowners, collaborative working and financial investment to achieve a recreational route of value to visitors and residents alike
• Disability access to the wider landscape beyond the LCC managed areas is limited
• Footpaths across the wider Battlefield are frequently used for dog walking resulting in conflicts with breeding birds, conservation management activity and issues of livestock disturbance, dog fouling and disturbance of farm shoots
• There is poor provision of bridleways within the study area - the main route is from Shenton Station through the Heritage Centre to Sutton Cheney which is shared with walkers. It is narrow, resulting in conflicts with other users including pushchairs, mobility scooters, cyclists and groups of school children
• The entrance to the Heritage Centre from the car park is poorly designed reflecting piecemeal development – there is a poor sense of arrival and the entrance to the site is unclear
• There are points of interest at the Heritage Centre which are currently not emphasised or interpreted e.g. Deserted Medieval Village and Roman Villa site
• There is limited orientation information at the Heritage Centre placing it in the extended landscape context of the wider Battlefield and its setting
• New audio interpretation at the Heritage Centre causes disturbance to horses using the bridleway through the area. There are also difficulties for horse riders when crossing the railway line due to trains and metal gates
• There is no cycle hire in the vicinity of the Battlefield - the closest hire centres are at Atherstone, Tamworth and Leicester Economic decision making
• There is a lack of qualitative evaluation of visitor experiences and therefore no comprehensive way to evaluate the impact of investment in interpretation and infrastructure
• There is a need to clarify the primary focus of the Heritage Centre in terms of its role as a heritage site or country park
• Money raised from car parking charges is not reinvested into the management of the Heritage Centre or wider battlefield area
• Les Routiers des Rouen and Hawkwise are retained by LCC to add value – but it is viewed by some parties that they can currently confuse and compete with the LCC offers on the site
• Vandalism of farm property and damage to private land with limited local policing or deterrents
• Lack of outlets for local farm produce and threats from supermarkets
• Concern that some farm businesses are marginal and may not be economically viable in future/not passed on to future family generations
• Concern that more tourism may restrict traditional land use and management
• Concern that any proposed extension of the Registered Battlefield area and preparation of a CP may inhibit farm diversification and economic viability of family businesses
• Concerns over illegal activity including badger digging, fish and game poaching and hare coursing Conclusions 8.8 This section has demonstrated that the Battlefield is significant in many different, and often interlinked, ways and that these significances are vulnerable to a range of differing, and sometimes conflicting, issues. Many of the activities, policies, processes or circumstances which damage the Battlefield landscape and its attributes, have complex and multiple impacts. Each one may diminish the significance of the Battlefield in a number of different, often interactive and cumulative, ways.
Although presented as issues affecting significance, and therefore the vulnerability of the significances, each issue also highlights areas of positive opportunity for change and development. This understanding provides a firm basis for identifying the policies and actions needed to tackle the issues and conserve and enhance significance.
9 Addressing the Issues Summary This section sets out the proposed objectives and actions of this Conservation Plan. They aim to address issues affecting the Battlefield and its wider landscape whilst protecting the area’s special qualities and intrinsic value. The Heritage Centre is the focus for many of these actions, as it a key attraction in the area and central to people’s understanding and enjoyment of the history and landscape. However there are many stakeholders within the area who already have and will continue to have an important role to play in shaping the Battlefield landscape.
The 14 objectives proposed are set within six broad ‘themes’ that provide a structure upon which the objectives and their associated policies can be built. Each objective has at least one policy, which takes the form of a proposed action. It is proposed that a Bosworth Battlefield Partnership or Forum is established to take these objectives forward. One of the first actions of such a group would be to review the proposed objectives and actions and to define priorities for the Partnership.
The primary theme focuses on encouraging partnership and communication, which is paramount for the successful conservation of the area. This is particularly important as the area is managed by a number of different landowners and stakeholders. Partnership with local, regional and national organisations, with agreed responsibilities and actions, will help secure the future of the area.
The second theme is about fostering a local economy that supports conservation and the landscape. It aims to encourage a sustainable level of tourism that also supports local business, without adversely affecting the quality of the landscape.
The third theme focuses on the protection of the archaeological resources in this historically rich area; encompassing artefacts, sites and areas from a range of historical periods.
Sustainable land management is the focus for the fourth theme. The aim is to encourage farming that works within sustainable environmental limits, producing good quality food and creating successful businesses for farmers whilst protecting ecological diversity and the character of the landscape.
The fifth theme is about the appreciation and understanding of the landscape; the Bosworth Battlefield area provides many opportunities for both formal and informal learning about cultural and environmental subjects. Understanding of and access to this valuable resource can be improved.