The Royal Commission leads on new €4m EU funded project supporting collaboration on coastal and heritage sites in Wales and Ireland

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The Royal Commission, in partnership with the Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland, Aberystwyth University: Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and Geological Survey, Ireland, is heading up an exciting and innovative new EU funded project aimed at researching coastal heritage sites in Wales and Ireland.

Funded through the European Union’s Ireland-Wales programme, the 5 year CHERISH project (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) – Climate Change and Coastal Heritage– will support specialist organisations in Wales and Ireland to employ cutting-edge technologies to analyse coastal and island archaeology and maritime heritage sites most affected by climate change, coastal erosion, storminess and rising sea levels.

Royal Commission staff surveying on the remote Grassholm Island in 2016, which is owned and managed by the RSPB. No public landing is permitted on this highly protected nature reserve.
Royal Commission staff surveying on the remote Grassholm Island in 2016, which is owned and managed by the RSPB. No public landing is permitted on this highly protected nature reserve.

Among heritage sites under study in Wales are the Pembrokeshire nature reserves of Skomer and Ramsey Islands, and remote off shore islands and reefs like Grassholm Island and The Skerries, Anglesey, along with eroding coastal promontory forts and cliff top heritage sites in south-west and north-west Wales.

Christopher Catling, Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, said:
“This is an exciting new project. CHERISH brings a strong partnership of archaeologists, geoscientists and maritime specialists to bear on the significant challenges posed by climate change to the historic environment.”

“The project will also enable us for the first time to undertake fieldwork on some of Wales and Ireland’s richest archaeological landscapes, which we believe will open up many new and exciting opportunities for coastal and heritage tourism across both nations.”

The grant will fund new excavations, environmental studies, marine mapping and landscape modelling. It will also support future strategies for climate change by providing a deeper understanding of longer-term changes to Wales and Ireland’s heritage and coastal environments which attract thousands of visitors each year.

The collaborative research has the potential to help safeguard coastal and heritage sites from the risk of climate change and minimise negative impacts on local economies.

CHERISH will be peer reviewed by an independent Advisory Committee, and any reports, photos, data or surveys carried out within the CHERISH project will be made freely available via a web portal (coming soon) and the : Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales’s online database http://www.Coflein.gov.uk. A key part of the project will be to set up community training events, walks, talks and conferences in different parts of rural, coastal Wales.

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