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


  • Guy Robinson University of South Australia


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