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Climate change adaptation guidance

Thorncombe Beacon, near Golden Cap, Dorset
A landslip at Thorncombe Beacon, Dorset, in April 2021. As climate change causes rising sea levels and more frequent storms, landslips are likely to become more common. | © National Trust Images/John Miller

We've worked in partnership with other heritage organisations to create guidance on what can be done to help historic sites adapt to a changing climate.

This guidance aims to help people working in heritage make decisions in the face of increasingly serious climate hazards, and adopt the measures needed to make the places they care for more resilient to climate change.

It's split into different themes. Each section contains an overview of the topic, information on relevant climate hazards and their potential impact, as well as climate change adaptation options for different sites and activities. There are also case studies, showing how teams have already begun to adapt to climate change, and information on how and when adaptation measures should be introduced and the permissions required for this.

What does the guidance cover?

The guidance we've published so far is made up of the following chapters.

  • Archaeology: archaeological earthworks, buried archaeological remains, and waterlogged archaeological remains
  • Buildings: historic building fabric and rainwater goods
  • Infrastructure: paths, and bridges, culverts and tunnels
  • Places: wildfires
  • Water: rivers, water features, and water sourcing and efficiency
  • Collections and interiors: paper and books
  • Gardens and parks: cultivated plants, trees in the designed landscape, lawns and grass paths
  • People and visitor activity: higher temperatures.

How can I access the guidance?

You can read the guidance on the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) website. The ‘How to use this guidance’ section, explaining the main themes and approaches to climate change adaptation, is a useful place to start.

We’re continuously updating the guidance with more material, including new research and information on best practice, so keep checking in for the latest version.

How has the guidance been developed?

This guidance has been developed with support from Cadw, Department for Communities, Northern Ireland, Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England, English Heritage Trust and National Trust for Scotland.

Climate change hazard map showing overheating and humidity 2020-2060
Climate change hazard map showing overheating and humidity 2020-2060 | © National Trust

Climate change hazard map

We've developed a hazard map that illustrates the threats climate change poses and highlights ways to tackle them. It's the first map of its kind that collates and plots data on climate-related events such as flooding and coastal erosion. The map will help us and other organisations identify the hazard level facing countryside places, monuments, coastlines and historical sites in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It can also be used to compare current and future climate conditions with 5km hex grids plotting the threat level from one to five.

The weir across the Anafon River as part of the Ynni Anafon Energy hydro project at Carneddau and Glyderau in Snowdonia, Wales

Tackling climate change

Climate change is the biggest threat to nature and the historic environment. Find out how we're tackling the challenges it brings to protect places of nature, beauty and history.

Our partners


Cadw works to protect the historic buildings and structures, the landscapes and heritage sites of Wales, so that the public can visit them, enjoy them and understand their significance.

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Department for Communities Northern Ireland

The Department delivers a wide range of services to the public which impacts lives to support people, build communities and shape places.

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English Heritage

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites across England.

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Historic England

Historic England is the government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment, championing historic places and helping people to understand, value and care for them.

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Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment.

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National Trust for Scotland

Scotland's largest member organisation protecting Scottish wildlife, gardens and glens, castles, battlefields and islands.

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