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Durham City conservation area

Durham City was designated as a conservation area on 9 August 1968 focusing on the peninsula, and was significantly enlarged on 25 November 1980 to incorporate a much wider section of the city centre.

Durham Castle and Cathedral stand high on the lofty peninsula, and in 1986 these monuments, along with the College and Prebends Bridge, were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The central area of the City of Durham is one of the most important historic cities in Britain as a significant example of a medieval town within a defended complex; dominated by the cathedral, castle and bridges. It has a simple layout within the landscape, with roads and streets radiating out from the marketplace, and this medieval infrastructure forms the historic core of the conservation area. The wider setting of the conservation area is formed by Durham's 'outer bowl' comprising of the surrounding hills and ridgelines which provide an important wider visual context to the whole City.

The Durham City Conservation Area was reviewed in 2015 and a character appraisal document produced and formally approved on 29 July 2016. This included amendments to the designated boundary and a new Article 4 direction to protect surviving historic features and the character of the historic streets. 

The Article 4 direction came into effect on 11 August 2016.

To ensure County Durham's conservation areas are properly managed, we are producing Conservation Area Appraisal documents that will help raise awareness of their special character and interest. These documents recommend ways to improve and to manage change as well as providing an interesting history and snapshot of the area.




Contact us
Heritage, Landscape and Design
03000 267 146
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ