Traditional historic farm buildings

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Traditional historic farm buildings

Rural Rother has a rich legacy of traditional farm buildings, often reflecting locally distinctive historic agricultural practices, including oast houses, fine timber-framed barns and modest brick cowsheds, which contribute to the picturesque landscape character of the area. In this section find links to Historic England's guidance on maintenance and repair of traditional farm buildings, and adapting and reusing.

Traditional Historic Building Image

Rother's countryside has a highly distinctive and important architectural character by way of settlement pattern and building typologies. The historic hamlets and farmsteads of the High Weald create a distinct and picturesque landscape, with the rolling pastureland and small ancient woodlands of the countryside interspersed with the rich clay-tiled roofs of medieval houses, barns, and oasts.

The buildings themselves reflect locally distinct historic agricultural practices, for example the distinctive brick roundels of the hop industry's oast houses, fine timber-framed barns and modest brick cowsheds and outbuildings.

Traditional historic farm buildings also often have wildlife benefits, offering valuable habitats. Traditional historic farm buildings are generally considered to be those dating from pre 1880, though there may be other pre-war buildings, either late Victorian or Edwardian that are of interest in a farmstead or landscape context and may be worthy of retention.

Because of the importance of these historic farm buildings, their repair, retention and continued use or re-use is considered important in the district's countryside, and relevant policies are contained in the and in the Core Strategy.

Guidance

Historic England (formerly 'English Heritage') have produced a range of guidance for the repair and re-use of traditional farm buildings:

Historic Farmsteads Historic Character Statement: South East Region

This study analyses the character of rural settlement and farming in the South East, and particularly within the High Weald, within which the majority of the District's countryside falls. This highlights the historic typical small farm sizes, leading to small 'farmsteads' of mostly dispersed cluster plans or loose courtyards, and typically consisting of just the farmhouse, one large multi-purpose barn, and perhaps an oast house or a small open-fronted outbuilding.

The Adaptive Reuse of Traditional Farm Buildings

This document explains how significance can be retained and enhanced through well-informed maintenance and sympathetic development, provided that repairs, design and implementation are carried out to a high standard. Successful adaptive reuse of any farmstead or building depends upon an understanding of its significance, its relationship to the wider landscape setting and its sensitivity to and capacity for change.

Maintenance and Repair of Traditional Farm Buildings

This document includes a brief analysis of types of farm buildings and materials, and more detailed advice on building maintenance and repairs to timber frames, brick and stonework, roofing materials, floors, mortars and rainwater goods.

It also includes advice on grant funding for traditional farm building repairs for buildings continuing in agricultural use via the agri-environmental schemes now administered by Natural England.

Adapting Traditional Farm Buildings

This document explains how significance can be retained and enhanced through well-informed maintenance and sympathetic development, provided that repairs, design and implementation are carried out to a high standard.  Successful adaptive reuse of any farmstead or building depends upon an understanding of its significance, its relationship to the wider landscape setting and its sensitivity to and capacity for change.

Bats in Traditional Buildings

Bats are often found in traditional buildings because they provide a large number of measures into buildings that will attract potential roosting places, and their design offers many entry points.

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