The Devon landscape itself is one of the most important components of the county’s historic environment. Almost every part of this landscape has been created and shaped by centuries of human activity. It is perhaps Devon’s most important asset. It is vital to local distinctiveness and to our sense of place. This landscape is dynamic, but its capacity to adapt to modern demands can only be properly managed if we understand its origins.
The landscape we see today had largely evolved by the medieval period. However, its pattern of fields, woodland, farmsteads and parishes includes strong influences from earlier ages and also more recently created industrial and agricultural landscapes.
Some historic landscapes are discrete and distinctive. These include: Braunton Great Field, a medieval ‘open’ field in North Devon; the preserved Bronze Age field systems, or ‘reaves’, on Dartmoor; and the modern mining areas of the Tamar Valley. However, the wider landscape is just as historic. In order to understand this wider landscape, Devon County Council has undertaken a Historic Landscape Characterisation project
Find out more