Historic Environment Records
Once you have assembled the necessary maps, the next stage is to determine what is already known about the area or site. Obviously the time spent in doing this will save much wasted effort and duplication.
The Heritage Environment Record (HER) is the new term for Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). The local authorities maintain the HERs, and access to these records vary. Some authorities, such as Kent, offer excellent online search facilities. Others, such as West Sussex, require an email request after which they will send the data (although in the case of West Sussex this data is sent as shapefiles which require a GIS program to use them).
However, all local HERs appear on the Heritage Gateway website and can be searched online. Remember that the data on this site is not updated as frequently as the local HERs, but this is a good starting place.
Other types of data, such as local publications, maps and plans, etc. may be housed with the local authority, so it will be necessary to visit the archive at some point.
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