Resources needing conservation


Surviving features from past landscapes

Hedgerows which survive that were present on a battlefield at the time of the action are, in theory, offered statutory protection through the Hedgerows Regulations. However for this to be effectively implemented such features need to be indentified, documented and notified to the relevant Local Planning Authority. Adequate survey has never taken place on most battlefields and so in many cases the relevant authorities are not aware of the significance of these features and so cannot ensure that they are protected for their military history value. There may be other features on some battlefields, such as stone walls or Cornish hedges, as at Braddock Down and at Stratton (Cornwall, 1643), which may not be protected in this way and so are even more vulnerable.

Archaeology of past landscapes

The archaeological evidence of landscape features contemporary with a battle can be in the form of upstanding earthworks or as wholly buried remains. Examples of important earthworks are the Bussex Rhyne at Sedgemoor (Somerset, 1685) and the ridge and furrow remains of the open field system that was still functioning at the time of the battle at Cropredy (Oxfordshire, 1644). Such archaeology could be protected if they were to be scheduled as Ancient Monuments. At present no such protection appears to have been given to the this type of archaeological feature on any battlefield in England.


Unstratified remains

The archaeology of battles is mainly in the form of unstratified artefacts in the ploughsoil. This is the key evidence for the re-interpretation of many of our battles. It has been argued that archaeological monuments of this form cannot currently be given statutory protection under the Ancient Monuments Acts. Whilst a Minister in a House of Lords statement in 2003 accepted the need for action, there has been no progress on this.  During a September 2018 Westminister Hall debate the Heritage Minister said he would discuss a possible review of the future protection of battlefields with officials and Historic England.

Mass graves

Where there are mass graves within or associated with a battlefield then these do fall within the criteria for Scheduling and could be offered protection, where their location is known. However it would appear than not one of the know sites of battlefield mass graves is currently protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, while no attempt has been made to carry out survey work to accurately locate other such monuments, even where their approximate location is known.

Shot impact scars

Very occasionally a building or other structure involved in the action of a battle, such as Powick church (Worcester, 1651), bears the scars of shot from firearms or of round shot or case shot from artillery. It is far more common with siege sites. Such evidence could be protected where the structure is a Listed Building or, in the case of churches, through the Faculty Jurisdiction. However it is unlikely in any case that protection is currently offered as the evidence itself is often not recognised or, where it is, then it is not identified as important archaeological evidence that should be preserved. Whenever restoration of stonework takes place this evidence will be destroyed.


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