Registering English Battlefields: The Constructive Conservation of Historic Environments

  • Carly D. SibiliaEmail author
  • Geoffrey Carter
  • Todd R. Lookingbill
Part of the Landscape Series book series (LAEC, volume 25)


The extensive history of warfare in England offers abundant opportunities for the conservation of historic land and its associated heritage and natural capital. Since 1995, the Register of Historic Battlefields has recognized English battlefields of exceptional historical value. To date, 46 out of at least 500 known English battlefield sites have been formally registered. While registered status provides a degree of extra protection against development, interpretation of undefined terms in planning legislation results in varied levels of conservation. Such challenges emphasize the importance of effective management, as registered sites can make significant contributions to local ecosystems as well as neighboring communities. In this study, we provide a brief history of English battlefield designation and conservation. We describe specific ecosystem services provided by battlefield landscapes through three case studies that vary along a management and land use gradient. For each location, we describe the types of ecosystem services provided, the management methods and goals, and the persisting threats. We also examine the potential differences in land cover for the registered battlefields and the surrounding landscapes. Despite differences in time of relevance, area, and habitat type, Naseby, Bosworth, and Maldon Battlefield each demonstrates the benefits of identifying and recognizing land historically associated with warfare. While formal recognition of the 46 registered battlefields conveys a certain level of appreciation and awareness, maintaining and improving the ecological condition of these sites is necessary to support regional biodiversity as well as surrounding communities and local economies.



We would like to offer special thanks to the Battlefields Trust for their generous support and overwhelming enthusiasm for this project and its goals. We also wish to acknowledge the invaluable contributions provided by Martin Marix-Evans, Glenn Foard, and Stephen P. Nunn, alongside a number of experts from the National Trust and Historic England. Assistance provided by staff at the University of Richmond was greatly appreciated, including technical guidance by Kim Browne and Taylor Holden in the Department of Geography’s Spatial Analysis Lab, and library support by Samantha Guss at the University’s Boatwright Memorial Library.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carly D. Sibilia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Geoffrey Carter
    • 2
  • Todd R. Lookingbill
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of RichmondRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Battlefields TrustLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Geography and the EnvironmentUniversity of RichmondRichmondUSA

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