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7 December 2015

New publication aims to improve visitor safety at historic sites

Visitor safety is the focus of a new publication that had its Scottish launch at Stirling Castle yesterday.

The front cover for the publication Managing Visitor Safety in the Historic Built Environment

Stirling Castle was the setting for the Scottish launch of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group book which sets out guidance on how best to manage visitor safety in the historic built environment.

Managing Visitor Safety in the Historic Built Environment, principles and practice aims to provide practical guidance for managers of historic properties on how best to balance visitor experience, visitor safety and the heritage asset value of their sites. It offers a range of principles which can be used to assess visitor safety, and outlines a suite of decision making tools which can be used to mitigate risks, in an appropriate manner that minimises the impact on the cultural significance of the historic built environment.

Historic Environment Scotland, which looks after more than 300 historic properties across Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle, Fort George, and Stirling Castle, contributed to the book, including several case studies, working together with other leading heritage organisations from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are all members of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group (VSCG).

The focus of the VSCG is how to create safe access to the countryside and historic structures in ways that do not spoil the landscape and heritage, or lessen the visitor’s sense of exploration and adventure.

Joann Russell, Head of Estates at Historic Environment Scotland, said: "We are lucky enough to live in a country with some of the world’s finest built heritage. The principles in this book will provide the tools to allow owners and managers to make decisions about visitor safety to ensure that visitors to their sites enjoy their experience, without putting themselves, or the heritage asset value of the sites at risk.

"We were fortunate to be able to draw on an enormous amount of expertise from our partner organisations in order to put together a publication which, I believe, builds significantly on the already strong foundations which we have in this country for the management of built heritage."

The new book is intended to help any individual or group who allow members of the public access to the historic built environment, which includes: castles, cathedrals, estates, churches, stately homes, landscape gardens, follies, parks, earthworks, industrial heritage sites, bridges, and visitor centres in historic areas.

Managing Visitor Safety in the Historic Built Environment: principles and practice is priced at £15 (plus postage and packing) and can be purchased at the Visitor Safety in the Countryside website: www.vscg.org/publications

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
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Year of Food and Drink 2015

2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success. Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism. A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat.

Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 Logo

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For further information

Alan Bannon
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8588
Mobile: 07854 366 805