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Historic environment

People at Chepstow Castle

An outline of the historic environment and the services that support it.

We want to make the historic environment accessible to all.

What is the historic environment?

It includes:

  • historic buildings
  • ancient monuments, such as castles, abbeys, standing stones and industrial remains
  • shipwreck sites
  • archaeological sites
  • historic parks, gardens and landscapes.

Facts and figures

In Wales, there are:

  • 3 World Heritage sites
  • 129 Monuments in State Care
  • 34,000 scheduled monuments and listed buildings
  • 6 Designated historic wrecks
  • 428 Registered historic landscapes, parks and gardens
  • 519 Conservation areas


Cadw (external link) is the Welsh Government historic environment service, working for an accessible, well protected historic environment.

Cadw’s aims are to conserve Wales’ heritage to the highest standard, to sustain the distinctive character of Wales’ landscapes and towns, to help people understand and care about place and history, and to make a real difference to people’s wellbeing.

Cadw is part of the Department of Culture and Sport.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (external link) surveys, records and explains buildings and archaeology and makes information available to the public on line and in its library in Aberystwyth.