Ivy on Walls

Author(s): Martin Coombes, Heather Viles, Alan Cathersides

It is very common for ivy to grow on historic walls and there is much speculation about the damage it may or may not be causing. This is especially important to understand for assets that are culturally valued, including listed monuments and ruins, which need to be managed and conserved. It is undeniable that damage can occur in association with ivy growth but the causal links have, so far, largely been based on anecdotal evidence. Scientific evidence generated from observation and experimentation is notably lacking. Such evidence is needed to inform management decisions and best practice, and to guide the allocation of resources. This report describes research commissioned by English Heritage (now Historic England) to address these knowledge gaps, undertaken by the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. The core research focussed on English ivy (Hedera helix L.) and was undertaken in two phases: Phase I (2006–2010) and Phase II (2011–2015). Desk-based research, field monitoring, laboratory simulation, test wall observation, microscopy, case studies, and discussion with asset managers have all been used. This has generated a significant amount of information to help better understand the direct and indirect influences of H. helix on walls and the deterioration processes that affect them.

Report Number:
Research Report
Building Building and Landscape Conservation Historic Walls Ivy Monument Ecology, Removal Churchyard


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]