What is the Historic Environment Record?
Historic Environment Records (HER) began life in response to the loss of the archaeological resource through urban and rural development. From their original remit of recording archaeological sites, they have been developed to encompass a wide range of information about the historic environment. Today they provide a unique information resource, forming the basis for sustainable conservation and playing an important role in informing public understanding and enjoyment of the local historic environment. The historic environment includes all aspects of our surroundings that have been built, formed or influenced by human activities from earliest to most recent times. The aim of the HER is to gather the known information about the historic environment and present its records, within national and international standards, in a format accessible to its users in order to:
- help advance research and understanding of the historic environment of Bath and North East Somerset;
- help care for the Bath and North East Somerset historic environment through conservation and environmental enhancement programmes and projects;
- inform policies and decision-making in land-use planning, development control, statutory undertakings, agri-environment and forestry schemes;
- raise public awareness of Bath and North East Somerset’s historic environment by contributing to educational programmes and projects to encourage public and community participation in the historic environment.
In 2002, the Sites & Monuments Record (as it was at the time) was formally adopted by the council as the statutory register for Sites of Archaeological Interest within the authority. It has since expanded beyond its original remit to include information relating to historic buildings, landscape character, ancient woodland, and other elements of the Historic Environment. It is used by the Bath and North East Somerset Planning & Conservation Team mainly for managing and conserving the Historic Environment as part of the planning process, but is also accessed by a variety of different users:
- Other Bath and North East Somerset Council departments
- Archaeological contractors and consultants
- Planning consultants
- Academic researchers and students
- Utilities Companies planning groundworks
- National bodies such as Historic England, Natural England, and the Forestry Commission
- Local archaeological groups
- Members of the public
The B&NES HER is part of a national network of similar records managed by local authorities. For information on neighbouring areas contact:
- South Gloucestershire County Council archaeology service;
- Wiltshire County Council archaeology service;
- Bristol City Council archaeology service;
- North Somerset Council archaeology service;
- Somerset County Council heritage and libraries service.
Consulting the HER
Members of the public can now consult the Bath & North East Somerset HER’s monument records online through the Heritage Gateway website, in partnership with Historic England and ExeGesIS SDM Ltd. This allows you to search a number of national databases such as the Heritage List for England, Pastscape, and Images of England as well as local authority records through a single web portal. However it is important to note that Heritage Gateway only supports monument data at this time.
What does the HER contain?
The Bath and North East Somerset Historic Environment Record consists of two electronic databases, the Historic Buildings, Sites and Monuments Record [HBSMR] and the Bath City Urban Archaeological Database [UAD], both of which are linked to a computer mapping system known as a GIS (Geographical Information System) which holds mapped information about sites and finds. The archive also contains information about specific areas of research in B&NES, including the following:
- Historic landscape surveys for Englishcombe and the manor of Widcombe
- Historic farm surveys for Priston, Stanton Prior and Stowey Knighton
- Historic field survey for Publow
- Historic Landscape Characterisation for the former County of Avon
Somerset Coal Canal
Bath City Urban Characterisation
Extensive Urban Surveys for Camerton, Chew Magna, Keynsham, and Norton-Radstock (see Documents section on this page)