Elsecar Heritage Action Zone

The Heritage Action Zone at Elsecar is a 3 year programme (2017-2020) resourced and supported by Historic England working with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, and formalised in an Elsecar HAZ Delivery Plan.

Historic England contributed £60,000 and £100,000 in in-kind support (expertise in archaeological and conservation planning and heritage developent), with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council funding £40,000 (BMBC Officer Decision record ODD/33/2017).

The aims of the Elsecar HAZ are to:

  • Improve understanding of the Elsecar’s heritage, largely hidden, extending the visitor experience to include important archaeological sites.
  • Bring historic buildings back into use, providing offices and retail units.
  • Identify suitable sites for new housing.
  • Encourage local people and community groups to get involved in the Elsecar’s development – to help forge new skills, provide rewarding experiences and raise awareness and pride in Elsecar’s heritage.

In 2018 several new proposals were developed under the aegis of the Elsecar HAZ project:

    • Safeguard significant archaeological sites at risk
    • Develop a modern Visitor Hub in a currently disused part of the Elsecar Ironworks buildings
    • Create new trails and footpaths around the village linking discoveries from archaeological sites to produce a unique visitor experience
    • Further significant works to enhance the heritage centre – the Earl’s Workshops – home to a range of independent shops and small businesses
    • Provide additional facilities and infrastructure to support new visitors

2018 Milton Dig

Great Place Wentworth and Elsecar project and the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone working together with Wessex Archaeology to deliver a community dig on Milton Forge recreation ground took place between Saturday 21st July 2018 and Saturday 28th July 2018, with additional site visits on Sunday 22nd July 2018 at the Milton Gala.

2019 Newcomen Boiler Dig

Great Place Wentworth and Elsecar project and the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone

Gasworks Geophysics

In 2019 the work of a student from University of Leeds won a prestigious national award from the Association for Industrial Archaeology.

Through innovative use of gravity surveying techniques on the buried remains of the Elsecar Gasworks established in 1857, Samantha Frandsen, an Exploration Geophysics MSc student from the University of Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment used gravity surveying together with more established methods to search for remains. The results revealed substantial sub-surface remains, including the foundations of one of the two gasholders.

Picturing Hoyland in the 1950s

During November 2019 Elsecar HAZ and Barnsley Archives hosted a photographic exhibition at Hoyland Library depicting the changing face of Hoyland and the surrounding villages. Starting from a donation of historic waymarking photographs taken by the Ordnance Survey cartographers, staff from Barnsley Museums asked local people to get involved in researching and recreating a selection of the images.

Protecting Heritage and supporting the built environment

Under Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2012, Regulation 14, covering the Adoption of Supplementary Planning Documents, on 28th November 2019 the Council formally adopted the Supplementary Planning Document: Elsecar Conservation Area Best Practice – Design and Maintenance, 2019, covering planning and development guidance on buildings in the Elsecar Conservation Village area, its former ironworks and its workshops which were once part of the Fitzwilliam Estate. Specific, illustrated examples of maintenance, repair and restoration work.


  • Historic England


  • BMBC