National Assembly for Wales
24 October, 2003
"Celebrating the regeneration potential of Wales' Upland heritage"
The rich archaeological heritage of Welsh upland areas has huge potential for regenerating and benefiting local communities, Culture Minister Alun Pugh said today (Friday, 24 October).
Launching a new book, the Archaeology of the Welsh Uplands, produced by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the Minister said these areas provided a generally untapped and significant resource.
Alun Pugh said: "Over a third of Wales is classed as being in an upland area, as being above 244 metres or 800 feet. This new book will inform the people of Wales, and beyond, of the potential use of a great store of information and knowledge."
The book highlights what has already been achieved to preserve Wales' upland environment and marks a major step in an extensive and ambitious survey, being organised by the Royal Commission..
"The rich archaeological resource of the Welsh uplands has not been subjected to the continual, dense and sometimes destructive use and reuse of the lowlands landscape.
"Consequently, archaeological remains of all periods survive as an abundant resource, which can both enrich the local community and help sustain it into the future as people visit, study and appreciate it."
The Minister said that having readily accessible upland areas could help achieve one of the Welsh Assembly Government's main priorities of improving the quality of health and recreation for local communities.
He added: "Newly discovered remains will be readily identified for walkers and others who explore the countryside as the Royal Commission supplies these details to the Ordnance Survey for printed maps and on-line through the Royal Commission's web site. The Wales Tourist Board estimates that walking-related tourism is already worth £550 million to our economy.
"When the project was started in 1989 forestry and agricultural improvement were the main threats to the archaeology of the Welsh uplands.
Fifteen years later recent legislation to provide greater access to the countryside will open up areas of the Uplands to wider public use and will bring new challenges. We must ensure that the fragile archaeology of the Uplands is maintained and preserved so it can be enjoyed by people today and by future generations."
The Uplands Archaeology Initiative is a partnership between the Royal Commission, CADW, Welsh Archaeological Trusts, archaeological contractors and individuals.
The survey project is now at its half way stage and is on target for completion by 2012. Within six-months of the completion of each fieldwork programme, all new discoveries are available on-line through the Royal Commission's website at www.rcahmw.org.uk