How to protect heritage sites: six ways to preserve historic buildings

England is rich indeed when it comes to the number of historic buildings and heritage sites still standing around the country. We are especially fortunate that so many are open to the public for people to enjoy exploring the beautiful treasures inside and the historic buildings and surroundings outdoors.

Due to their age, however, these special places need delicate and careful preservation and care to ensure that they are not inadvertently damaged by work carried out on them, or actions taken near them to protect surrounding areas from adverse weather, for example. Here are six ideas on how to protect heritage sites this year.

How to protect heritage sites

1 Get registered: make sure that the historic building has all necessary legal protection in the guise of local or national designations, marking it formally as a building of historical interest and cultural importance. This includes completing any paperwork around the listing of the building to ensure its legal protection as a heritage site. Different regions and counties have different schemes and planning registers, so make sure you know whom to apply to and which formal certification the building can benefit from. Doing this can often open up opportunities to apply for government grants and other charitable funding.

2. Preserve the past: learn how to protect and care for the historic building and its contents – each type of material used will need to be conserved in a separate way to prolong its life for as long as possible. Bring in experts if you are unsure and invest in the correct cleaning kit, tools for repair and methods for protecting vulnerable items, such as outdoor statues, from the harsh weather and temperatures of winter. Good sources of advice and information include the National Trust and other heritage charities and organisations.

3. Protect sustainably: choose the correct products when protecting the building and its surrounding roads and pathways so that any materials you use do not pose a threat to the building itself. For example, when deicing surfaces in the winter months, avoid using rock salt as this is highly corrosive and can harm buildings, wildlife and the health of people and pets. Opt for an organically-derived, rock-salt-free product instead, such as EcoGrit.

What makes EcoGrit the ‘go-to’ choice?

EcoGrit Concentrate is an organically-derived gritting product for icy surfaces that is free from rock salt and urea. It is safe for buildings, surfaces, humans and animals and can be used down to temperatures of -20 degrees C. It can also remain effective for up to seven days, reducing the amount of times it needs to be applied, and thus lessening its impact on the building structure and the surrounding ecosystems.

More ways to help

4. Environment first: Our responsibility for the environment and sustainable working goes further than deicing surfaces. Choose organic products where possible for

cleaning, decorating and repairing, and encourage the house team to recycle and reuse as much as possible too. Plan for long-term results and preservation, rather than simply short-term ‘wins’ and aim to protect the building’s structure organically and carefully to reduce your carbon footprint while reducing the potential for harming anything with toxic products and ensuring the site’s future sustainably.

5. Raise awareness: not everyone will be aware of the importance of preserving these valuable historic sites, nor have the knowledge of how to start. Share what you know by writing about the topic on social media, signing petitions to help secure funding and encourage debate and publicise any events or news updates to your friends and family. Choose birthday presents and other gifts that help people enjoy and appreciate heritage sites better, such as memberships, guide books and themed mementoes.

6. Volunteer your time: go one better and sign up to help your local heritage site as a volunteer. After so many months spent in lockdown and a changed world around us, giving something back to your local community and actively involving yourself in a worthy project will offer many benefits to you and the heritage site you choose. Whether you help with building conservation, garden maintenance, research or admin, your help will be hugely appreciated, all year round. Or, if you don’t have time to help out physically, a regular donation can also help make a difference to a heritage building’s future.

EcoGrit can help preserve historic sites: find out more

To find out how EcoGrit can work in alignment with your aims of preserving and protecting a precious heritage building, speak to an expert today, or visit the website to browse the products on offer.