Conserving and protecting our historic environment is the foundation for all our work.
We do this by:
- conserving and managing the 130 monuments in our care
- identifying places of special historic significance and giving them legal protection through the designation system
- offering decision makers, owners and occupiers advice and guidance about managing change to historic assets and promoting good conservation practice
- providing grants for the conservation and repair of historic buildings and scheduled monuments, and for community heritage projects
- promoting distinctive regeneration and sustainable development through heritage
- reviewing and improving legislation, policy and guidance to safeguard our historic environment.
Protecting and conserving our historic environment depends on a range of professionally skilled people, including archaeologists, architectural historians, conservation architects and skilled conservation craftspeople.
We are committed to supporting the professional development of all heritage professionals. In particular, we are working with others to attract and train new entrants into heritage construction. It is this workforce that will help make sure that our traditional building stock (pre-1919 buildings) is looked after for the future.
We are doing this through:
- a strategic skills partnership with Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and the Construction Industry Training Board
- working with the other three national heritage bodies in Wales to develop a sector skills plan.
View our teaching resource: Understanding Traditional (pre-1919) and Historic Buildings for Construction and Built Environment Courses to find out more about our latest skills advice.
The story of Wales can be told through our landscapes and our townscapes and in the countless historic buildings and ancient monuments that are all around us. We are helping people to understand, appreciate and enjoy this story by improving innovative access to the sites in our care and encouraging owners of other historic sites to do the same.
We manage 130 historic properties on behalf of the Welsh Government.
By providing access to these sites and using them as ‘showcases’ for the history of Wales, we aim to encourage people to explore and appreciate the historic environment.
The majority of our sites are open at all reasonable hours and free of charge. Although unstaffed, interpretation panels or audio posts will help you make the most of your visit. A guidebook or pamphlet is often obtainable from the Cadw website or from a local shop.
Twenty-eight of the larger sites are staffed and an admission charge is usually payable. These sites usually have more exhibitions as well as a shop, and some have catering facilities. Any income made by our sites through admissions or commercial activity is used to support the wider work of Cadw. Our custodians are proud of their monuments and are always pleased to help make your visit more rewarding.
Events, learning and volunteering
Our sites are a focal point for our work to make the historic environment of Wales interesting and understandable. We do this in many ways including information panels, audio presentations and site guidebooks.
We also organise a lively programme of activities, performances, living history days and demonstrations as a less formal way of learning. We provide more structured educational opportunities too — there is free admission for school parties and adult education groups. We offer opportunities to volunteer at Cadw sites and encourage people to take part in schemes to improve access to other parts of the historic environment. These can range from bracken clearance through to opening up places that are not normally accessible to the public.
These activities offer a wide range of life skills that can improve health and well‑being as well as bring employment opportunities at any time of life.
We know that the historic environment makes a significant direct contribution to the economy of Wales through:
- contributing an estimated £963 million per annum to the Welsh economy (2016)
- supporting over 40,500 jobs through the heritage sector, heritage tourism and the heritage construction industry
- offering tourists a unique visitor experience.
It also makes a less tangible, but no less important, contribution to the quality and vibrancy of the places in which we live and work.
By encouraging the conservation and enhancement of the historic character that makes each city, town and village unique, we can help create distinctive places which attract inward investment and people.