Barns re-born in Peak District National Park
This is an archived press release
Wednesday 25 July 2012Barns which were in danger of falling into dereliction are being restored to help conserve the landscape, heritage and wildlife of the Peak District National Park.
The Peak District National Park Authority is working in partnership with Natural England to help farmers and landowners access up to 80 per cent funding to repair historic barns for agricultural use.
By the end of this financial year, 14 barns will have been restored, including buildings at Wardlow, Bradwell, Brushfield, Taddington, Litton and Alstonefield.
The projects use local materials, provide work for local businesses, carry on traditional building skills and boost the local economy.
One of the biggest projects, costing nearly £285,000, has just been completed at Onecote Grange farm in Staffordshire thanks largely to funding from Natural England’s Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme
The L-shaped 19th century farmyard barn, which includes elements dating back to 1632, had one roof destroyed in a devastating fire in 1949. Before repairs this year the replacement asbestos roof was failing, walls were structurally unsound, loft floors were unsafe, stonework was eroding and most of the doors were ill-matched and dilapidated.
Now the roofs have been returned to their original Staffordshire blue tiles, loft floors and wooden hay mangers replaced, window surrounds repaired with local stone, and the doorways graced with bespoke oak doors. Traditional lime mortar was used throughout.
Farmer John Stone and his wife Janet run Onecote Grange as a dairy farm which has been in Janet’s family since 1924. It was visited five years ago by HRH the Prince of Wales.
John said: “We’re very pleased with the restoration – this was a substantial building that we hadn’t been able to use for years because it was unsafe. Now it’s so good to go inside and appreciate the work that’s been done. I’ll be using it for calves and for storage, and it’s still a home for house-martins and swallows.
“The builders and architects worked very hard to complete it on schedule, and I’m very pleased with the way the Peak District National Park Authority co-ordinated the project. The help I have had from them and Natural England has been invaluable. I’ve always had a good relationship with both organisations and I’m grateful for their help.”
The process involved preparing a conservation management plan with the help of national park authority farm advisor Suzanne Fowkes, for submission to Natural England for funding. Once approved, Suzanne co-ordinated the national park’s building and archaeology specialists and planning advisors with the architects and builders.
The project-managing architects were Smith & Roper of Bakewell and the specialist builders were A & J Restoration of Nottinghamshire.
Authority chair Tony Favell was given a guided tour of the barn and said: “It’s heartening to see these handsome barns being restored to agricultural use - the project at Onecote Grange is a credit to all concerned.”
National park cultural heritage manager Ken Smith said: “These projects contribute to the Peak District economy, traditional skills, heritage buildings, wildlife conservation, the landscape and farming. In every case they fulfil national park purposes, and that’s why we’re working hand-in-hand with Natural England and the farmers and landowners to help push them forward.”
Kate Maltby, of Natural England, added: “This is a great example of how Natural England works in partnership with the national park authority and local communities to achieve conservation of the heritage and natural beauty of the Peak District. It’s good news that these traditional farm buildings have been restored for everyone to appreciate into the future, while also supporting the area’s farmers and traditional craftsmanship.”
The authority continues to work in partnership with Natural England to repair historic barns, although the funds available through the ESA and Higher Level Stewardship Schemes are now fully committed to December 2013.
Further information is available at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/farmersupport or www.naturalengland.org.uk