Tony Robinson: Covid will spark renaissance in our relationship with open spaces

The pandemic has caused problems for organisations which maintain heritage sites and protected land, he said.

Sir Tony Robinson has said coronavirus will trigger a “renaissance” in our relationship with open spaces.

The Blackadder star and TV historian said the pandemic has led to people having a greater appreciation for heritage sites and the outdoors.

He told the PA news agency that while the pandemic has been difficult for organisations which maintain historically significant sites and protected land, people have learnt to value the locations they are preserving.

“I think there’s a potential for a big silver lining at the end of Covid, which is that we can start rekindling, re-loving and reimagining our historic places and open spaces and there’s enough pent-up energy out there to make that happen,” Sir Tony, 74, said.

He added: “I think there’s going to be a renaissance in how people use those open spaces and we’ll do so in ways that we can hardly imagine at the moment.”

Sir Tony said the pandemic has helped people to be more in touch with their outdoor environments.

“I think we are all much more aware of the open spaces that surround us and the things which we can go and see, which we wouldn’t otherwise go and see, and I sense that we won’t forget that,” he said.

The television presenter added that while this has been going on, “people who are the wardens of these places have had an enormously difficult time” and have “lost all their funding streams”.

National Lottery Heritage Heroes
(Matt Alexander/PA)

Sir Tony has been involved in a project by the National Lottery to recognise the contributions of conservationists who have looked after heritage sites during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the project, Stonehenge is being illuminated with pictures of people who have helped look after areas of historical significance.

Among those being honoured is Mick Byrne, who helped to plant thousands of trees at the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield in Staffordshire.

He also led socially distanced tours around the memorial, which honours the contributions of members of the armed forces.

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