Visiting the DRA during the Covid-19 Pandemic, from February 2022. 

The Government yesterday (21 February 2022) announced their Response Strategy for ‘Living with COVID-19′. This includes the removal of remaining domestic restrictions and changes to the rules surrounding self-isolation and testing. However, here at the Archive we won’t be making any changes just yet and ask that if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or feel unwell, that you do not visit the Archive

The following document explains what our current operating procedures mean if you are planning to use the Archive for private browsing and independent study during this time, and outlines what you will need to do whilst in our venue. The information is based on the latest guidance supplied by the UK Government, Public Health England and sector specific organisations, and will be reviewed as and when new information becomes available.

While in the Archive, all members of our community must:

  • observe social distancing rules at all times by staying two metres away from other people, or at least one metre where that is not possible;
  • wear a face covering whilst moving around the building;
  • wash their hands regularly;
  • comply with all instructions from staff and with any signs on display.

You should not visit the Archive if:

  • you have tested positive for COVID-19, or feel unwell;
  • you have been in contact with someone who is unwell;
  • you are living in a local lockdown area;
  • you are awaiting the outcome of a Covid-19 test; or have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

We reserve the right to deny access to the Archive to any individuals who are not willing to abide by the guidelines set out in our policy documents.

Please take a moment to read the following step-by-step guide to visiting the Archive during the pandemic 

1. Drop-in or book an appointment

The Archive is open to drop-in visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11am and 3pm. This means you do not need to make an appointment to explore our open shelves, to carry out independent study, or to view exhibitions during our opening hours. However, our capacity remains lower than normal and so you may be asked to wait outside until space becomes available.

If you would like to guarantee access to the Archive at a set time, or you think you might need help using our collection, you will need to book an appointment at least one week in advance. Appointments should be made in person, or by telephoning 01548 830832, so that we can discuss your research interests and requirements with you. We will then be happy to confirm your appointment via email.

2. Preparing to visit

Please consider carefully what equipment you will need with you on the day; this might include laptops, notebooks and pencils. You will not be able to bring large bags and bulky coats into the library. There is a coat rack in the entrance lobby, but items will be left at your own risk.

If you have made an appointment, but are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible. If you do not cancel in advance you may not be able to book a future session.

3. Travelling to the Archive

A map showing our location, in the grounds of Shilstone House near Modbury, together with detailed directions, can be found on the ‘Find Us’ page of our website. Visitors must follow any signs on display, and park in the large DRA Car Park on the left before the Archive building; parking is free of charge.

Please do not park in our courtyard without prior permission, but note that blue badge holders may request a priority space in advance.

Appointments are limited to two hours, so please arrive promptly as we may not be able to extend your library session, and you may need to rebook for another day.

4. On Arrival

The entrance to the Archive is on the ground floor; on foot take the first left after leaving the DRA car park. You will need to sanitize your hands at the door using the alcohol gel provided, before ringing the doorbell. Please wait, and a member of staff will greet you at the door.

Before entering our Research Library you will need to complete a registration form with your name and contact details (address, phone number and email address). You will only need to register once in a calendar year and we will hold this information in accordance with the Archive’s existing GDPR policy; groups are welcome, but each member must register with us individually. Anyone who does not provide the required details will not be granted access.

If you have booked an appointment we will show you to a designated work space in our library, where you will find items that we have selected for you based on the information you provided during the booking process.

5. During Your Visit

You will be able to browse our open shelves and carry out independent research in our first floor Research Library as well as view our current displays. We will be happy to offer limited research support, subject to staff availability, but we cannot guarantee to be able to meet all your requirements. If you would like help with your research, please book an appointment.

Whilst in the Archive, we ask that you follow the normal conventions of working in a library, and in particular:

  • maintain a low level of noise at all times; there should be no raised voices;
  • show respect for other visitors’ privacy and concentration;
  • wash your hands before using and at regular intervals during your stay; to this end alcohol-based hand sanitisers have been placed throughout the building. In line with current national practice you only need to wear gloves when working with delicate or photographic materials;
  • only use pencil in the library;
  • refrain from making marks of any kind on items in the collection;
  • turn pages carefully, and without moistening your fingers to do so;
  • obtain permission before photographing items in the collection, and complete a copyright form as appropriate;
  • refrain from eating or drinking in the library, and from smoking anywhere in the building;
  • take great care when consulting any item in our collection;
  • refrain from brining animals onto the premises.

Please wear a face covering, such as a mask or a visor, whilst moving around the Archive. In case you forget to bring one, you will be able to obtain a mask from the staff member on duty in return for a suggested donation of £1 into a sealed collection box. While working independently and seated at a desk, however, you may remove your mask.

Please note that:

  • in line with up-to-date practice within The National Archives, and updated guidance from Public Health England about how the Covid-19 virus spreads, we do not quarantine archival material after use;
  • where possible the windows will be kept open to aid ventilation and so the heating may be switched off;
  • toilet facilities are available on both floors of the Archive;
  • refreshments will not be available at the Archive unless as part of an event.

6. Leaving the Archive

At the end of your visit a member of staff will escort you to the exit. Please leave all the items you have used at your work space and one of our team will put them away.

There is no charge for using the library, but we welcome donations, large or small, which can be deposited in our sealed collection box in the first floor lobby.

For monitoring purposes, we will retain a record of your contact information, the items you have used, your arrival and departure times and the names of any staff members with whom you came into contact.

7. Further Visits

You are welcome to visit as often as you like, and to make multiple appointments to use the DRA library, but please continue to check our website and social media profiles for the latest information.

If you have any questions or concerns about your visit to the Archive, please call us on 01548 830832 or email

Abigail C. Gray
Curator and Resident Archaeologist
Published: December 2020
Updated: March 2021
Revised: July 2021
Revised: November 2021
Revised: February 2022

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Where we are

Devon Rural Archive, Shilstone, Modbury, Devon, PL21 0TW

Call us: 01548 830832

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