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Historic South Downs cart shed conserved in pilot project

Historic South Downs cart shed conserved in pilot project

Work has now been completed on the conservation of a 200-year-old cart shed in the heart of Up Marden, West Sussex for local people and visitors to enjoy. The project, a pilot which is hoped could be rolled out for other ‘Heritage at Risk’ across the South Downs has been carried out in partnership between the National Park Authority, Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Natural England and the landowner.

Built between 1775 and 1830, with repairs & alterations in the 1960s, the timber frame building, built for the storage of vehicles and implements, was unsafe and at risk of collapse and has been on Chichester District Council’s Heritage at Risk register since 2012.

With funding from the South Downs National Park Authority and Natural England, the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum oversaw a programme of repair works through a new outreach programme giving museum students valuable first-hand experience in masonry and timber frame conservation skills. This innovative approach may then be used for other restoration projects across the National Park.

Diana Rowsell, Head of Learning at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, said:
“This is the first conservation project we have undertaken outside the museum grounds. It is wonderful to be involved in a practical timber framing project in the community, which complements our on-site training programmes in vernacular building repair techniques.”

Nigel James, Central Downs Area Manager for the South Downs National Park, said:
“The Up Marden Cart Shed is an important piece of South Downs heritage which is loved by both local people and visitors. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum’s outreach service is a unique and exciting partnership which, in the future, could help us to repair other historic buildings across the National Park.”

James Seymour, Kent and Sussex Manager for Natural England, said:
“This project has released the wealth of experience held by the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum to support the conservation of a locally important historic farm building”

The total project cost has been estimated at £72,000, of which £35,000 was contributed by the South Downs National Park Authority’s Major Partnership Fund and £25,000 from Natural England.