Lottery and Landscape: Rural Development through Re-Creation of Historic Landscapes Examples from the English West Midlands

Guy Robinson

Abstract


Environmental management and community development in rural areas of
Developed Countries have frequently sought to identify particular landscape
components that it is deemed appropriate to re-establish or to re-create. Hence key
elements in government-supported projects have included native vegetation,
cultural artefacts, historic buildings and particular elements in the landscape, such
as hedges, stone walls and riparian woodland. The targeting of 'heritage
landscapes' has been extended into new areas in the United Kingdom (UK)
through funding associated with the National Lottery scheme, first launched in
1994. This paper examines the Lottery's contribution to landscape restoration and
related aspects of community development, drawing upon two case studies in the
English West Midlands.
The case studies reflect different scales at which restoration associated with
Lottery funding are occurring. The Leasowes estate near Birmingham offers a
micro-scale case study where an 18th century example of the English Picturesque
landscape is being restored. This is essentially one individual's vision that has been
resuscitated in recent years. In contrast, the Malvern Hills in the county of
Worcestershire covers several thousands of ha and is a human-created landscape
traceable to prehistory. Here the restoration aims to maintain landscape features
dependent on longstanding grazing practices threatened by changing farm
economics. Potential loss of perceived amenity associated with landscape change
has driven public debate in the case of the Malverns whereas investment in
landscape restoration for the Leasowes has been driven primarily by the local
authority. The article highlights future research opportunities to address tensions
between official views about landscape and cultural values possessed within the
community.
Keywords: historic landscapes, The Picturesque, heritage lottery, English
Midlands, landscape restoration

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.

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