The Peak District National Park Authority is working in partnership with Natural England to help farmers and landowners access up to 80 per cent funding to repair historic barns for agricultural use.
By the end of this financial year, 14 barns will have been restored, including buildings at Wardlow, Bradwell, Brushfield, Taddington, Litton and Alstonefield.
The projects use local materials, provide work for local businesses, carry on traditional building skills and boost the local economy.
One of the biggest projects, costing nearly £285,000, has just been completed at Onecote Grange farm in Staffordshire thanks largely to funding from Natural England’s Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme
The L-shaped 19th century farmyard barn, which includes elements dating back to 1632, had one roof destroyed in a devastating fire in 1949. Before repairs this year the replacement asbestos roof was failing, walls were structurally unsound, loft floors were unsafe, stonework was eroding and most of the doors were ill-matched and dilapidated.
Now the roofs have been returned to their original Staffordshire blue tiles, loft floors and wooden hay mangers replaced, window surrounds repaired with local stone, and the doorways graced with bespoke oak doors. Traditional lime mortar was used throughout.
Farmer John Stone and his wife Janet run Onecote Grange as a dairy farm which has been in Janet’s family since 1924. It was visited five years ago by HRH the Prince of Wales.
John said: “We’re very pleased with the restoration – this was a substantial building that we hadn’t been able to use for years because it was unsafe. Now it’s so good to go inside and appreciate the work that’s been done. I’ll be using it for calves and for storage, and it’s still a home for house-martins and swallows.
“The builders and architects worked very hard to complete it on schedule, and I’m very pleased with the way the Peak District National Park Authority co-ordinated the project. The help I have had from them and Natural England has been invaluable. I’ve always had a good relationship with both organisations and I’m grateful for their help.”
The process involved preparing a conservation management plan with the help of national park authority farm advisor Suzanne Fowkes, for submission to Natural England for funding. Once approved, Suzanne co-ordinated the national park’s building and archaeology specialists and planning advisors with the architects and builders.
The project-managing architects were Smith & Roper of Bakewell and the specialist builders were A & J Restoration of Nottinghamshire.
Authority chair Tony Favell was given a guided tour of the barn and said: “It’s heartening to see these handsome barns being restored to agricultural use – the project at Onecote Grange is a credit to all concerned.”
National park cultural heritage manager Ken Smith said: “These projects contribute to the Peak District economy, traditional skills, heritage buildings, wildlife conservation, the landscape and farming. In every case they fulfil national park purposes, and that’s why we’re working hand-in-hand with Natural England and the farmers and landowners to help push them forward.”
Kate Maltby, of Natural England, added: “This is a great example of how Natural England works in partnership with the national park authority and local communities to achieve conservation of the heritage and natural beauty of the Peak District. It’s good news that these traditional farm buildings have been restored for everyone to appreciate into the future, while also supporting the area’s farmers and traditional craftsmanship.”
The authority continues to work in partnership with Natural England to repair historic barns, although the funds available through the ESA and Higher Level Stewardship Schemes are now fully committed to December 2013.
1) Onecote Grange’s 19th-century barn after its £285,000 restoration
2) Oncecote Grange barn before restoration
3) Farmer John Stone (right) explains the restoration work to Tony Favell, chair of the Peak District National Park Aithority.
Media inquiries to: Barbara Crossley, communications officer, Peak District National Park Authority, 01629 816389 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional notes to editors from Natural England:
About Environmental Stewardship
Environmental stewardship schemes are administered by Natural England, on behalf of Defra, and fund farmers and land managers throughout England to deliver effective environmental management on their land.
The objectives of Environmental Stewardship are to:
- Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
- Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
- Protect the historic environment and natural resources
- Conserve biodiversity
About Natural England
Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.
- We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.
- We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and advising on their conservation.
- We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.
- We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.
- We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.