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Battlefields

Battles were often iconic events in Scottish history, and battlefields form an important part of our historic environment.

What are they?

Battles were major historical events that live on today in our national consciousness, commemorated through memorials, music, poetry and literature.  Battlefields are the landscapes on and within which these events took place, but are usually less well known. Battlefields have great importance for what they can tell us about the course of a battle and its terrain, for the physical remains and artefacts they can contain, and as the location where soldiers fought, died and may have been buried. 

How are they selected and designated?

The Inventory of Historic Battlefields lists nationally important battlefields that meet the criteria published in the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) 2009 (Annex 5).  The Inventory includes a report on the sites included and a boundary map outlining the area of interest, and provides a resource for enhancing the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of battlefields.

Some features in battlefields may be protected in additional ways. For example, the breastworks at Glenshiel (1719) and the graves at Culloden (1746) are scheduled, while the clan memorial at Sheriffmuir (1715) is listed.  Much of the Culloden battlefield is also designated as a Conservation Area. 

How are they protected and managed?

The purpose of the Inventory in identifying and providing information on nationally important battlefields is to try to ensure that change is managed positively and sympathetically to the landscape of the battlefield, its physical remains and archaeological potential. 

Inventory battlefields will be taken into account by planning authorities in development planning and in the determination of planning applications, and in other relevant policy contexts, such as for forestry. To assist this process, Historic Scotland has produced interim guidance on managing change in battlefields, within its Managing Change in the Historic Environment series.

SHEP 2009 also encourages local authorities to establish policies for battlefields which make an important contribution to the local historic environment.

Culloden, Battlefield
Culloden, Battlefield