skip to main content

Landscape and the historic environment

How people have shaped the landscape

The landscape has been shaped by human and natural processes over thousands of years.  This historical dimension, sometimes referred to as 'time-depth', contributes to the quality and character of the landscape and the cultural identity of Scotland.

You can see evidence of the history of our landscapes in the impressive built features in rural and urban areas such as historic buildings, standing stones and burial mounds, and country houses with designed estates and gardens.  Look carefully and you will see it in abandoned fields, settlements and railways, and the subtle differences in field patterns and arrangement of roads and tracks.  For more information on the historic environment see Historic Scotland's external site website.

Some of Scotland's historic assets have statutory protection as listed buildings, scheduled monuments or because they are in Conservation Areas.  Others may be included on the non-statutory Inventories of Gardens and Designed Landscapes external site or Battlefields, or are in World Heritage Sites, National Parks, National Nature Reserves and National Scenic Areas. For information on the treatment of gardens and designed landscapes in the planning process, see Scottish Historic Environment Policy external site .  Historic Scotland can award grants external site for the preparation of landscape management plans for sites included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.

Complementing Scottish Natural Heritage's Landscape Character Assessments, a programme of Historic Land-use Assessment external site (HLA), undertaken by Historic Scotland and Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, provides more detailed information on the historic aspects of the landscape. The maps can be viewed here external site .

Safeguarding historic landscapes for an enriched future

Understanding Historic Landscape Character  external site (Topic Paper 5) describes the complementary relationship HLC/HLA has with LCA, and highlights their important differences and provides specific advice on HLA and historic landscape character.

Last updated on Monday 12th November 2012 at 12:33 PM. Click here to comment on this page