Heritage and Territory Programme

Heritage and Territory Programme

Objectives and methodology

The Heritage and Territory Programme considers that the TERRITORY with all its natural, landscape, cultural, economic and, above all, human resources, constitutes a HERITAGE – what today is considered TERRITORIAL CAPITAL – that must be understood and managed as a whole, in a global manner and through transversal actions. To do this, it proposes a medium / long-term action plan, the objective of which is to promote sustainable development dynamics in a rural area of ​​Cantabria: the Nansa Valley and Peñarrubia.

Programa patrimonio y territorio de la Fundación Botín

The main objectives of the programme are the following:

  • Promote the development of the upper and middle valleys of the Nansa basin (Polaciones, Tudanca, Lamasón, Rionansa, Herrerías and Peñarrubia), using its own resources.
  • Set the population in the valley and provide it with conditions that improve the quality of life (facilities, mobility and economic activities), creating incentives for young people to stay or return.
  • Propose integrated methodologies in a new intervention model.
  • Promote, in its application, a demonstration effect, for its transferability to other areas.
  • Respond to the application of new legal instruments on the matter (European Landscape Convention, in force in Spain since 2008; Law of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, 2007; Law for the Sustainable Development of the Rural Environment, 2007).
Programa patrimonio y territorio de la Fundación Botín

A methodology based on:

  • Identification of the natural resources of the Nansa and Peñarrubia valley: natural, scenic, economic and cultural.
  • Through a cross-sectional analysis of the territory (local development; natural environment; tourism; historic roads; livestock; population; planning; forest spaces; employment and housing; landscape). (*)
  • It leads to a global diagnosis.
  • It results in a global intervention proposal that configures a medium / long-term action plan.

(*) Information included in a GIS (Arc View) that allows cartographic visualization of all referenced information.

Action Plan

It includes four strategic axes. Each axis has its own objectives and actions, all of them linked to each other, as corresponds to the global, transversal and coordinated nature of the intervention proposal.

Development of the Plan:

There is a close coordination of its main actors:

  • The Government of Cantabria, through all its Ministries, whose programmes must guarantee:
    • The convergence of actions.
    • Provide effective collaboration to the implementation of the plan.
    • Coordinate the initiatives and intervention projects related to the Nansa and Peñarrubia valley that appear in their regular programmes and budgets.
    • Adapt the regulations in force to the specific needs of the territory, whenever possible.
    • Process and approve the Special Plan for the Protection and Development of Nansa and Peñarrubia, a true axis for the balanced development of that rural area.
  • Local authorities, Mayors and Neighborhood Councils.
  • Social agents.
  • Entrepreneurs and representatives of the private sector.
  • Botin Foundation, as author and promoter of the Plan.

Botin Foundation contribution:

The Foundation has initiated, promoted and financed the Rural Heritage and Territory Development Programme since its inception, as part of the fulfilment of its founding purposes.
In the executive phase, it maintains its promoter function to ensure the globality of the Programme and the transversal nature of the different actions, in close collaboration with the agents involved.

It promotes actions of a strategic nature regarding:

  • Territorial planning
  • Economic development
  • Cultural Heritage and Landscape
  • Rural dynamization

Monitoring commission:

To monitor the action plan, a commission has been established that meets periodically and in which the Government of Cantabria, the Mayors of the municipalities and the Botin Foundation participate.

Territorial Planning

Territorial Study and of council areas.

The villages of San Mamés in Polaciones, Tudanca in Tudanca, Obeso in Rionansa, Cabanzón in Herrerías, La Fuente in Lamasón and Cicera in Peñarrubia have been studied.

Its objective is to know the conformation of the villages and the historical and cultural origin of the settlement that still survives, as a guide to inspire the regulation and future development of this territory.

This study has led to the publication “The Village Landscape” and its consideration as a territorial unit in the Special Plan.

Study and proposals for growth models.

These studies are related to the land occupation mode, typologies and materials in each of the villages.

SIts objective is to propose growth models in accordance with each of the types of village and considering the survival of the council areas.

Revitalisation of the Nansa Basin.

To promote a model of integral management of the basin in agreement with all the competent institutions and within the framework of the application of the European Water Directive:

  • A group of experts was created to study the real situation of the basin and propose a comprehensive management model, as well as to define a revitalisation strategy.
  • The document “Revitalisation of the Nansa Basin, Objectives and Strategies” has been issued as a starting point.
  • The Table for the Revitalisation of the Nansa Basin has been set up in which all the parties involved participate:

Cultural and Landscape Heritage


Restoration of the Church of San Mamés of Polaciones and its surroundings. It was proposed as an intervention in the religious heritage that would serve as a model for other future actions.

It is a model restoration of a church built in 1798, with historical and architectural value, which had serious structural problems, with imminent danger of ruin.

The restoration has also served to deepen the historical knowledge of the valley and the village, giving rise to a new look to the village landscape whose material and functional footprint is still visible in the territory. In addition, the carvings and the remains of the altarpiece have been restored, and the altar table and benches have been changed.

The surroundings of the church have been carefully urbanised, and a paving stone has been set down that allows the transit of tractors and cattle and the collection of water. It is a model of urban treatment in mid-hillside villages that can have a general application.

The Church was inaugurated on 9th October 2010 and was attended by the Hon. Mr. Bishop of Santander, Mr. Vicente Jiménez.

Programa patrimonio y territorio de la Fundación Botín

Restoration of Lafuente. This nucleus, which is located in Lamasón, is at the foot of the Arria Massif and is made up of a set of linear neighbourhoods built around the medieval road to Liébana, which is currently part of the Camino Lebaniego.

The works consisted of cleaning and rehabilitating the water source that emanates from the Arria Massif, which gives its name to the town and which has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest; the consolidation and paving of the surroundings of the Romanesque church of Santa Juliana, from the 12th century, and the improvement of the so-called Plaza del Horru, where a group of Gothic houses is preserved. As a result of this intervention, numerous hydraulic devices have been recovered and cataloged.

In addition, the section of the old road to Liébana, which connects both urban spaces, has been conditioned. All of these actions are reflected in the book ‘The village of Lafuente’.

Restoration of the old schools of San Mamés of Polaciones. The lower part has been used as a community and civic center, while the first floor, as was already the case, was the home of Mr. Cura Párroco. Its environment has also been urbanised with the same paving stone as the church environment.

Acquisition of the photographic collection of the Nansa Manuel de Cos valley.. The cataloging, conservation and digitization of the negatives has been carried out, in order to preserve a rich heritage and documents of the territorial and social evolution of the valley.

Study of the figure of Father Rábago and the pre-industrialization of the Nansa Valley.. It was a doctoral thesis that was presented at the end of 2011 and that deepened the knowledge of Father Rábago and his impact on the first industrialisation of the valley.

Collection of documentation related to the valley and its inclusion in a database, from the high Middle Ages to the 19th century. The documentation found in scattered files has been gathered to facilitate the knowledge of the valley and the work of scholars and researchers. There are about 1,740 documents, dated between the years 790 and 1799, in addition to the municipal ordinances.

Cataloging of the industrial heritage of the valley and public works. . As part of the built heritage, cultural heritage and factor for territorial revitalisation.

Collection and study of intangible heritage.. Work being carried out by rural facilitators, in close contact with the population.

Recommendations to recover and occupy the traditional buildings already built.


Preparation of the methodological bases and criteria for the treatment of the Landscape in the Spatial Planning and Urban Planning of Cantabria. Contribution to the development of a strategy for landscape management in Cantabria.
It has been prepared at the request of the Ministry of Public Works, Spatial Planning, Housing and urban planning, in order to comply with European regulations and its incorporation into the Regional Spatial Planning Plan.

Proposal of a Historical Road Plan. The intention is to recover the historic roads as a heritage asset, identity of the territory and tourist resource. The drafting of the project for the old Camino Real Toledo-San Vicente de la Barquera, in the Puente Pumar-Tudanca-Santotís sections has been completed.

The adaptation works are carried out by the Regional Ministry of Spatial Planning, Public Works, Housing and Urban Planning.


Information about the area of Rural Development

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