Traditional farmsteads and farm buildings make an important contribution to the remarkably varied character of England’s landscape. They are fundamental to its sense of place and are as important to the character of the countryside as the pattern of fields and boundaries associated with them. Together they help to create local identity and local distinctiveness. They also provide tangible evidence of local history and forgotten skills. Retaining such buildings matters because their history tells us of past practices, technology, innovation and achievements.
However, changing agricultural practices and economic pressures mean that many traditional farm buildings have lost their original purpose and become vulnerable to neglect and decay. Even those that remain in active agricultural use still need regular maintenance and periodic repairs to keep them in good order.
This guidance provides practical advice to farmers, land managers and others involved with the maintenance and repair of traditional farm buildings. It also explains how work of this kind can be considered in a wider context of sustainable management to ensure these buildings have an economic value and a future.
The guidance is primarily directed to buildings in active farming or related uses, but it is also relevant for those that have an uncertain future or need urgent works to prevent further deterioration of their structure and fabric.
This replaces the previous edition published in September 2011.