IN HIS letter "Who is running the county?" (Hereford Times May 6), R Bickford asks why Herefordshire should be one of only 15 counties in England to have an archaeological countryside advisor.

The answer is that English Heritage have been prepared to provide financial support for such a post because Herefordshire is one of the most rural counties with a rich historic environment and is also acknowledged to have suffered disproportionately from both foot and mouth and the impact of wider changes in agriculture.

In doing this, English Heritage are supporting Herefordshire Council in providing the means for farmers and landowners of the county to get the advice they need to assess the impact on and the opportunities for our historic environment when making changes.

The post therefore provides advice towards the application for environmental schemes such as stewardship, the possibilities for maintaining and re-using historic buildings and the impact of farm developments such as the construction of irrigation lakes and the erection of new barns.

The value of English Heritage's investment in these posts has been demonstrated in other rural counties, where they have been present for a number of years.


County Archaeologist, Herefordshire Council.