Volunteers receiving training as part of the East Budleigh built heritage project
Volunteers receiving training as part of the East Budleigh built heritage project

It’s official, heritage brings happiness, says Historic England

A pilot scheme, involving local people in their built heritage, is being launched by East Devon District Council in East Budleigh on 23 and 24 October 2019

Volunteers will be trained to help review, manage, protect and enhance the heritage assets in their conservation area, such as buildings, monuments and landscapes. These assets are an irreplaceable resource, which have helped to give East Devon towns and villages their distinctive character and add to the attraction for local residents and visitors alike.

The project aims to build knowledge and skills amongst volunteers from surrounding areas including Budleigh Salterton, Otterton and Sidmouth. It also aims for the whole community, including schoolchildren, to learn about and celebrate their historic environment.

By bringing communities and organisations together, the project will encourage identity and pride in local heritage. Plus, as an added bonus, Historic England reports that there is a positive relationship between people’s involvement in heritage and their quality of life. So, it’s official - heritage brings happiness.

Many partners have made the project possible, with additional support from local history groups. The East Devon AONB has approved Sustainable Development Funding for the project, along with the Norman Family Trust. The funding will be managed by the Otter Valley Association and supported by East Devon District Council, the Fairlynch Museum, Drakes Primary School, Salem Chapel, East Budleigh Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan group.

A Neighbourhood planning seminar held on 10 October 2019 has also encouraged Neighbourhood Planning groups to consider the built heritage in their plans, with further information provided at this and other events in the future.

Many other initiatives of the first East Devon Heritage Strategy (2019 – 2031) are underway this year. This includes a new Guide to the Listing of Local Heritage Assets, and a new District Council Heritage Working Group, which meets to tackle a range of heritage issues together.

Councillor Helen Parr, Lead Member for Building Design and Heritage

In East Devon we have a wealth of heritage assets in our towns, villages and landscape that tell the story of our past. Our communities are a great source of knowledge and skills, and together, we can all help to conserve, enhance and celebrate the wonderful heritage that we have.