English Heritage has supported Wiltshire Council in developing guidance to help assess farmsteads
at the earliest stage of the planning process and the Wiltshire Buildings Record in their work on
historic character and significance. Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council intends to
adopt these documents as informal planning guidance in due course, further to consultation and
following the adoption of both Council's Core Strategies. It has been underpinned by a mapping of
the historic character and survival of all the traditional farmsteads across the county, and now
further investigative work is being undertaken by the Wiltshire Buildings Record as part of its
continuing volunteer-driven and volunteer-led project on farmsteads.
Why is it important and what can it be used for?
The outcome of this work is that planners, conservationists, academics and in fact anyone
interested in farmsteads will have a better informed understanding of the significance and
contribution that historic farmsteads make in the human and natural environment. Future
change in historic farmsteads is inevitable if they are to be retained as a distinctive part of
the rural landscape: otherwise, they risk decay and dereliction. Where it is fully informed,
changes in use of a building can make a positive contribution to the landscape character
and can inspire relevant high-quality development.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Farmsteads Guidance Documents
Traditional farmsteads and buildings are heritage assets which make a significant contribution to both
local distinctiveness and, through a diversity of uses, to local communities and economies. English Heritage
has supported Wiltshire Council in developing guidance to help assess the issues for change and, also with the
Wiltshire Buildings Record, their historic character and significance. Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough
Council intends to adopt these documents as informal planning guidance in due course, further to consultation
and following the adoption of both Council's Core Strategies.
THE FARMSTEAD ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK
This guidance provides a step-by-step approach to considering the reuse of traditional farm buildings
and the sustainable development of farmsteads, through identifying their historic character, significance
and potential for change.
FARMSTEADS CHARACTER STATEMENT
This has an introductory summary followed by fully-illustrated guidance on the character and significance
of the county’s traditional farmsteads and buildings. It is presented under the headings of:
- Historic development – how the county’s farming history fits into a national context
- Landscape and settlement – how farmsteads contribute to the landscapes and settlements in which
they have developed
- Farmstead and building types – how the functions of farmsteads are reflected in a variety of farmstead
plan forms and building types
- Materials and detail – the development and use of materials and building techniques across the county
- Area summaries – the areas into which the county subdivides, based on analysis of its farmsteads in
their landscape context
Download the Character Statement:
Farmstead and Landscape Statements have been produced for each of the following National Character
Areas (as defined by Natural England) which are wholly or partly within the Wiltshire and Swindon areas.
Wiltshire and Swindon Farmsteads Mapping Report
This specialist report summarises the overall results of mapping the historic character and survival of the historic couonty's traditional farmsteads, now covering the Unitary Authority areas of Wiltshire and Swindon. It provides an analysis of the results of mapping the historic plan type and survival of 4028 farmsteads and over 2700 outfarms and field barns, using Ordnance Survey maps of around 1900 as a baseline because these were compiled after the last major phase of building traditional farmsteads in England. These will soon be entered onto the county’s Historic Environment Record. Clear distinctions have emerged between different landscape areas in the county, but in addition, the distinctive character of Wiltshire’s ‘chalk and cheese’ landscapes have been further highlighted and examined through case studies. The project was initiated by the Wiltshire Buildings Record and was funded by English Heritage. The mapping was carried out by Forum Heritage Services, using consistent terms and techniques as developed in other parts of England.
If you would like to know more about this exciting project or have any comments, then please contact us
using the following details:
Telephone: 01249 705508
Address: The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road,
Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 3QN.