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Opening for Visitors and Schools

Looking for advice on opening up a historic park or garden for schools and visitors?

Resources for owners on opening their gardens to visitors, schools and families have been developed for the 2016 Capability Brown Festival, co-partnered by Historic England. These guides are useful for other historic parks and gardens.

Historic England’s Easy Access to Historic Landscapes provides guidance on improving access to historic landscapes for all visitors whatever their age or level of ability.

The Heritage Lottery Fund also offers guidance on audience development.

Falconry displays

Falconry displays, especially where falconry is associated with a historic site, can be an interesting and fascinating event for visitors.

Falconry, hunting using trained birds of prey, was introduced to Britain in the early Middle Ages and was widely practised both for obtaining food and as a sport. It is likely to have been carried out at many properties and therefore has a long history of association with historic sites. Modern falconry is essentially unchanged from the Middle Ages but falconry displays are now more common than actual hunting. These displays allow the public to see birds at close quarter and to watch them flying and stooping as if catching prey. The considerable knowledge and skills involved in falconry is also of historic interest.

Properly conducted displays do not involve the use of live prey and do not harm the birds of prey. All falconers have to register to keep birds of prey. Property owners or managers have a responsibility to ensure that, while there may be considerable benefits from hosting falconry displays, they are carried out legally and do not conflict with other objectives for the site, for example nature conservation. Falconry events or displays of captive birds must not disturb wild birds of prey. Birds of prey are relatively solitary animals and particularly during the breeding season may be seriously disturbed by the presence of captive birds within their home range, even for short periods.

A falconry display at the English Heritage Trust's Audley End House in Essex
A falconry display at the English Heritage Trust's Audley End House in Essex © Historic England
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