A colourised historic postcard shows a central fountain with arches in the foreground and flower borders either side of a grass path. Glass houses can be seen in the background.
Nigel Temple postcard of the view in the gardens looking towards the fountain at Hardwick House, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk © Historic England Archive
Nigel Temple postcard of the view in the gardens looking towards the fountain at Hardwick House, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk © Historic England Archive

Suffolk's Unforgettable Garden Story

Today, Historic England and the Gardens Trust are launching 'Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story', a new project to discover, celebrate and protect historic parks, gardens and landscapes in Suffolk.

Historic England has awarded a grant of £36,000 for this exciting project and will be working with the Gardens Trust on its delivery.

Suffolk's historic green spaces need your help

Only 23 historic green spaces in Suffolk are protected and included on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE), including Helmingham Hall (Grade I registered), Ickworth House (Grade II* registered), Belle Vue Park in Lowestoft (Grade II registered), and Felixstowe Cliff Gardens and Town Hall Garden (Grade II registered). The List identifies the buildings, sites and landscapes that receive special protection, so they can be enjoyed by current and future generations.

Historic England and the Gardens Trust want to hear about wonderful public and private designed landscapes in the county that should be protected and celebrated and added to the List. We are particularly keen to hear about urban and suburban gardens, commercial sites, institutional landscapes, and 20th-century and post-war designed landscapes.

Unprotected, some of these special spaces may be vulnerable to loss, decay, or inappropriate proposals for development. We want to understand these landscapes better and help to ensure their protection and care, so that current and future generations can enjoy them and discover their story.

With the help of local people, this fantastic project will help us to learn more about Suffolk’s historic designed landscapes. I’m really looking forward to hearing about the Suffolk parks, gardens and green spaces that people love. I’m sure we’ll be discovering some hidden historic gems that need protection and support.

Christopher Laine, Landscape Architect Historic England

Get involved

We’d love people to get involved, to champion and research local historic designed landscapes. You don’t need to be an expert in history, landscapes or gardening.

Training and support for volunteers

We’re working in partnership with the Suffolk Gardens Trust, who would love to meet new people from local communities. Alongside training from the Gardens Trust, Suffolk Gardens Trust will offer the research skills, know-how and support to get involved in the project, which will run for the next 18 months.

Recommend and research historical gardens for protection

You’ll be recommending parks and gardens that should be considered for protection, adding new detail to information for sites that are already nationally listed, and raising awareness of sites that are locally important. We want to draw on local knowledge to ensure that Suffolk’s historic designed landscapes are understood and protected.

Be part of the Missing Pieces Project

Why not share your knowledge and photos to the National Heritage List for England (known as the List) for others to discover?

Every snapshot and story you add is an important piece of the picture. And the more pieces of the picture we have, the better we can work together to protect what makes these places special.

Search the List

Why not come along and meet us?

The Gardens Trust is holding an open event in Suffolk on Saturday 17 September from 4pm to 6pm (venue to be announced).

There is also an online (Zoom) meet-up on Thursday 22 September from 6pm to 7.30pm. This will be an opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved with Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story to find out more, ask questions, and be part of an informal conversation about ways to contribute. It will also be a chance to sign up if you decide to volunteer for the project.

For further information on getting involved, and more details of the open event, please contact:

Sally Bate: [email protected] or

Karina Flynn: [email protected]

“This project aims to encourage Suffolk communities to help protect historic outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy. We look forward to building partnerships with individuals, groups and organisations to whom their local parks and gardens are indispensable. Volunteers are vital to this project, as with all the work of the Gardens Trust, so we really encourage people to get involved and share their local knowledge.

Karina Flynn, Suffolk Volunteer Support Officer The Gardens Trust

Celebrating unforgettable gardens

Historic parks and gardens are a much-loved part of our shared national story. This project is part of the Gardens Trust’s Unforgettable Gardens campaign (running until the end of 2023) which looks at what gardens mean to us, the threats they face and how you can save them for future generations.