Enhancing community and stakeholder participation for the management and conservation of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney and its wider landscape

Historic Environment Scotland
Publicado: 05 Octubre 2020
Última edición: 26 Octubre 2020
remove_red_eye 4050 Vistas


The solution focuses on the management arrangements for the World Heritage property of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney and the recognition of the need to enhance community and stakeholder engagement. The site plays an important role in shaping the identity of Orcadians and over the years it has become a major element in supporting the local economy of the archipelago as a key driver for tourism to Orkney. The protection of the natural and cultural features of the place and its role in the development of tourism and business opportunities on the island has called for cooperation between agencies, local government and charities as well as for the enhanced involvement of local communities and businesses for the development of an effective management strategy for the conservation of Orkney. The key actors in this solutions are Historic Environment Scotland, Orkney Islands Council, NatureScot (former SNH), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise .


Norte de Europa
Scale of implementation
Buildings and facilities
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Ecosistema urbano
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Piscina, lago, estanque
Actores locales
Comunicación y divulgación
Marco legal y normativo
World Heritage
Desarrollo de Infraestructura
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente gobernanza y participación


Skara Brae, Skail Bay, Stromness, Scotland KW16 3LR, United Kingdom | Maes Howe, the Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites in Orkney, Scotland.


  • Environmental challenges:  the possible issue of site degradation due to tourism impacts, especially where combines with climate change impacts, as well as the need to ensure the protection of the surrounding landscape which supports the Outstanding Universal Value of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.
  • Cultural and social challenges: lack of community consultation and engagement in World Heritage management decision-making; lack of understanding / inclusion by decision makers of community values in relation to the World Heritage status and the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
  • Economic challenges: need to improve and enhance the “spreading of the load” via local tourism connectivity with other cultural and natural sites both to reduce peak pressure on the World Heritage Site monuments and to ensure and enhance wider community benefits for the communities, stakeholders and businesses of Orkney, including those not in immediate proximity to the components of the World Heritage property.


The beneficiaries of this solution are the local communities and local businesses of Orkney. The solution focuses on enhancing participation and working towards more joined up and sustainable tourism opportunities for Orkney.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The solution highlight the enhanced cooperation and community engagement necessary to ensure the protection of the World Heritage property of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney and the wellbeing of its communities and stakeholders.

The site is managed by a joint World Heritage Site Steering Group. Additionally, a strategic partnership has been set up to enhance visitor experience for tourists and the benefit of local people, which foresees the use of investments to develop a more diverse and comprehensive tourism experience reaching to sites and places not immediately connected with the site. As tourism at the site is both a blessing and a burden, a wider consultation campaign has been carried out to better understand the perceptions of local community and businesses in relation to both the World Heritage status and the tourism and other values of the site. The information collected will become an integral part of the knowledge and information used for the preparation of the new Management Plan for the World Heritage site and the further development of the management partnership. Communities play a vital role in the conservation of the site, both through goodwill and community stewardship, but also through their direct involvement as rangers.


  • Environmental: the approach established for the management of the site and the future development of tourism opportunities has identified the wider landscape as having great importance for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.Provisions for the protection of the landscape are present inside national and local planning legislation and policies.
  • Cultural and social: the solution identified the importance of local communities, stakeholders and businesses in the management and conservation of the site. The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is important to the local community not only because of its World Heritage status but also due to its role as a key element of  Orcadian cultural identity; communities are willing to engage with the site and its management and they are interested in participating in a dialogue, not only in receiving information. Strengthening the channels of communication between the site management and local stakeholders and communities has benefits for management of the site and understanding of its value(s) on both sides;
  • Economic: tourism is a key industry for the people of Orkney. To manage tourism sustainably requires a wider landscape approach to include sites that are not included under the World Heritage status as well as wider natural and cultural areas of interest.


Sandra Miller

Ranger Sandra Miller spends more time than most enjoying the landscape of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. With a particular focus on the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness she and the ranger team spend a great deal of time meeting people from all over the world who have come to see the amazing sites Orkney has to offer. On a day to day basis they provide face to face interpretation of the natural and historical landscape of this iconic area.

Spending time with visitors and locals alike is for Sandra one of the best parts of the role, it serves to remind her everyday just how special the monuments are. With large visitor numbers and easy access there is always the challenge of site protection. Understanding that people want to have the best possible experience and to see as much as they can, it is all about getting the balance right. Sandra and the team constantly evolve their ideas and thinking to ensure an excellent visitor experience but also making sure the archaeology and the natural landscape are protected too. For Sandra it is key that Orkneys young people understand the uniqueness of the sites and surrounding landscape. School visits are therefore an important part of the job and one all the rangers enjoy as they all feel that they are not just protecting the site for today but for future generations yet to come.

Contribuido por

Imagen de jiyewo2677_39088

Alice Lyall Historic Environment Scotland

Other contributors

Historic Environment Scotland