SCOTLAND’s battlefields are under threat from developers seeking planning permission to build on them, it has been claimed.

And the Scottish Battlefields Trust has called its supporters to arms in a bid to protect the historic sites.

The 7th Scottish Battlefields Symposium follows the rejection in September of a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for greater protection for Scotland’s battlefield sites from planning applications.

Major housing developments have already been approved on sites such as Culloden and Prestonpans, and the trust said there has been destruction of a significant part of the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie.

It works to develop interpretation and engagement with battlefields from their local communities to ensure long term protection and recognition.

More than 40 sites are listed on the Inventory of Historic Battlefields, maintained by Historic Environment Scotland, although the trust said there are many others in Scotland.

They include 18th century battles that took place at Culloden and Prestonpans, the Battle of Stirling Bridge, in 1297, Ancrum Moor (1545) in the Borders, along with the 1411 Battle of Harlaw in Aberdeenshire.

The symposium will be held on November 17 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, where discussions will highlight global best practice in the field, and the Scottish Battlefields Trust offering assistance to sites looking to develop strategies, such as engagement with local communities and better signposting for increased protection and recognition.

“Scotland’s battlefield sites encompass Scottish history in a totally unique way,” said trust chair Herbert Coutts.

“Not only are they hugely significant places at which people have lost their lives, but they mark the turning points of history.

“We were disappointed that MSP’s missed the recent opportunity to increase protection for these national treasures and are keen to continue the conversation with representatives from battlefields across the country.

“However, it’s much easier to protect a site or monument that is treasured by local communities and so we’re keen to help sites develop a strategy of engagement.

He added: “I’d urge grassroots champions – groups, communities and individuals – interested in protecting and raising awareness of their local battlefield site to get in touch with Scottish Battlefields Trust for support and to attend our event … We’ve also issued invitations to MSPs and other stakeholder groups.

“We’ll be looking at inspiring examples of best practice in this field from England, France and even America.

“It’s very clear that Scotland needs to up its game when it comes to preserving its national heritage.”