Hello to everyone from West Berkshire!
I got into the office around 8:20 – first thing on the agenda is to go through my emails; luckily it’s a Friday so it’s reasonably quiet on that front. I did respond to an interesting post on the Historic Environment Record (HER) Forum regarding HERs as an education resource for schools: this is something that I was promoting in my previous role as HER Officer for Hampshire, so glad to see that others are also on board with the same ideas. Now that archaeology has a stronger presence in the National Curriculum I hope that HERs can make a positive contribution in the future.
Next on the agenda is to set up some meetings with some other West Berkshire colleagues; firstly at the West Berkshire Museum (/https://twitter.com/WBerksMuseum) to discuss good practice when dealing with archaeological archives. The Museum is due to re-open at the end of August after being closed for a while, so everyone is working very hard! Secondly, with our Conservation Officers to catch up on how our local listing and parish heritage initiatives are going. These are both important projects aimed at getting local communities to recognise their heritage and feed it into policy and good practice. This will hopefully highlight the importance of local sites and ensure that they are recognised and appreciated by everyone.
After that, I commented on some pre-applications that have come in. This involves an initial appraisal of some proposals before they are submitted as planning applications, and ensures that archaeological issues are highlighted, with suggestions on how these issues can be dealt with. This can sometimes include evaluation (such as a geophysical survey), or in other cases there are no historic environment concerns at all. Further details on our part in the planning process can be found here.
Next it’s time to get out of the office for a bit! Off to Speen (just north west of Newbury town) for a meeting to discuss the location of an information board about the Civil War Second Battle Of Newbury. This board has been developed in partnership with the Battlefields Trust and the West Berkshire Heritage Forum and will be another good example of raising local awareness of heritage. Fund raising for the board came partly through a series of talks held at West Berkshire Council’s Shaw House. The idea is to have a grand unveiling of the board in October as close to the 370th anniversary of the Battle as possible! I also took the opportunity to visit Speen Church and holy well to snap some photos!