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Ambitious repair projects to historic Dartmoor barns completed thanks to grants

— 22 Nov 2022

Dartmoor barns Architect survey 1

In 2018 the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a pilot scheme in conjunction with Historic England, Natural England and five National Parks around the country to provide funding for the restoration of historic agricultural buildings.

The premise for the scheme was to ensure the continued survival of historic agricultural buildings which form such an integral part of the iconic landscape of our National Parks.

DEFRA states, ‘The objective of the scheme is to fund examples of buildings which will enhance cultural heritage features, landscape, wildlife and public engagement with the environment’
DEFRA Countryside Stewardship: Historic Buildings Restoration Grant Manual

The grant scheme provided £2 million of funding for the restoration of eligible traditional buildings within the National Parks.

Initially Jonathan Rhind Architects were appointed to undertake Management Plans, consisting of full condition surveys; co-ordination of consultants; specification and tender for 19 of 23 barns in Dartmoor National Park; and helped farmers and landowners navigate the scheme to acquire funding of up to 80% of the work required to restore the barns.

All of the management plans produced by Jonathan Rhind Architects were approved for funding and works to all 19 barns have been completed in only three years. Jonathan Rhind Architects coordinated with contractors and consultants, and the work involved navigating various issues such as accommodating bat roosting requirements; mitigating the risk of carrying out lime masonry work over winter in the hard upland climate; and working within the restrictions and supply shortages brought about by the global pandemic.

Completing this pilot scheme across five National Parks has been a huge achievement to ensure the ongoing survival of these iconic vernacular buildings; and Jonathan Rhind Architects are delighted to have been part of the team to make it happen.  

Following the successful completion of the pilot, it is expected that these grants will be offered to all National Parks and possibly AONBs in the future as part of the Government’s agricultural support policies.

If you need advice or guidance on how to restore an agricultural building on your land or want to discuss what other options might be available for your barns or outbuildings, please do get in touch.

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