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Registered Parks and Gardens at Risk

More than 1,600 parks and gardens in England are designated as being of national importance. These are included in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England.

These designed landscapes cover many types and are the result of centuries of work by both private individuals and public bodies. They make a special contribution to the historic landscape of our countryside and towns.

Without proper care and investment these fragile landscapes can easily be damaged beyond repair or lost forever. We want to help their owners to find practical and affordable ways of safeguarding their future.

The gardens at Lilleshall Hall
The grade II registered park and garden at Lilleshall Hall in the West Midlands has been removed from the Register following the production of a comprehensive management plan. The National Sports Centre which owns the property sees the plan as a tool to deliver positive outcomes for both the Centre and the designed landscape.

The current situation

There are 94 registered parks and gardens on the Heritage at Risk Register, representing 5.8% of the total number of registered parks and gardens in England.

In the past year, there have been more places added (seven) to the Register than removed (five). 

Moreover, some parks and gardens that are not themselves included on the Heritage at Risk Register contain heritage assets that are.

These include listed buildings, such as garden walls, lodges, follies and temples that are key components of the landscape design. So the picture is a complicated one...

The challenge ahead

We recognise that registered parks and gardens are complex sites, often presenting unique challenges.

They can occupy large areas, they are frequently associated with other heritage assets at risk, and they may be in multiple ownership. This can make a holistic approach to their conservation difficult to take forward.

To tackle this, Historic England now has a full complement of landscape architects nationwide. Their role is to promote initiatives that will help to remove parks and gardens from the Heritage at Risk Register.

These complex landscapes often require significant monetary investment. They also need commitment from their owners to achieve the positive management necessary, so that they can be removed from the Register.

Our own grant funding, as well as that from other funding bodies, particularly Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, is invaluable in rescuing landscapes at risk.

Historic England will work closely with Natural England, through the new Countryside Stewardship scheme. We hope this will deliver impressive repair solutions for designed landscapes.

Pressure on public finances presents a challenge for many of our most celebrated public parks and cemeteries. Demand for land for development also calls for creative design solutions that do not damage the significance of historic parks and gardens.

It is only by thoroughly understanding the challenges facing individual parks and gardens that we can work out effective conservation solutions. We then play a key role in bringing about close and effective co-operation between owners, land managers and funding partners to make a real difference to landscapes at risk.

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Heritage at Risk Team