There are strong links between heritage and the environment yet, heritage is not fully included in existing ecosystem-based frameworks. Different understandings of heritage values exist, and heritage values are not yet related to key value categories in environmental values research. To address this gap and facilitate a common values-based approach, we develop a novel framework that links heritage and environmental values. First, we expand the understanding of heritage values by linking heritage to key environmental value categories. We then use the Life Framework of Values to show how heritage features in the different ways in which people relate to the world. The resulting heritage values framework is operationalised by applying it to six case examples drawn from participatory research on the governance of European coastal and maritime heritage. We found that the environment was not only considered to be a setting for heritage but was itself valued as heritage in different ways; that heritage is not extrinsic to the environment but is also a way in which people see meaning in the environment; and that multiple value frames and types were involved in shaping this perspective. The results highlight important discrepancies between stakeholders' perspectives and existing management approaches. Applying the framework shows the ways in which heritage and nature are entwined by providing a structure for elucidating what can be valued as heritage, what values can inform heritage values and how heritage values feature in human–nature relations. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.