Parks & Gardens UK

Posted on March 9th, 2011 by Charles Boot

Rachael Stamper writes: is the national web resource that provides database record information, educational articles and other resources on historic parks, gardens and designed landscapes in the United Kingdom.

Funding for the first phase, completed in November 2009, was provided by the HLF to a partnership of the Association of Gardens Trusts and the University of York. In 2007, the partners established a registered charity, Parks and Gardens Data Services (PGDS), to manage Parks & Gardens UK. The HLF grant also encompassed in-kind contributions from volunteers, and over 23,000 hours of volunteer time has been given by members of county gardens trusts, local authorities, individuals and other heritage organisations.


The website gives free access to over 6,500 records of parks, gardens and designed landscapes, approximately 5,000 of which are in England. These include country estates, public parks, pleasure gardens, cemeteries, garden squares, allotments, botanical gardens, community gardens, civic landscapes, arboretums, plant nurseries, private domestic gardens, village greens and urban green spaces, institutional or commercial gardens and archaeological remains.Thanks to a generous contribution from English Heritage, the EH Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest has been incorporated into our records and is available online for the first time.

Also featured in the database are more than 2,000 biographies of the people associated with historic parks and gardens, including designers, architects, gardeners, horticulturists, artists and writers.

The database has been set up so that information can be added and new records created at any time by volunteer contributors. In this way, it is anticipated that the records will continue to grow and improve over time, with further depth and greater detail added as new research becomes available. PGDS is happy to train anyone who would like to be a contributor. To learn more about how to get involved, please visit
the Research & Record area of the website or contact me

In addition to searching the database records, we hope you will enjoy the educational resources and articles on the website, including:

Illustrated Glossary in the Resource area

• The historical and contemporary profiles, feature articles, introductory garden history topics, and conservation pieces in the Explore and Conservation & Restoration areas

• Enjoy public parks with children using the activities provided in the School Zone

Our web statistics indicate about 7,000 unique visitors to the website each month, with an average of 250 users per day.Weekly comments, suggestions and further research are also received from individual members of the public.

Since the close of the HLF grant in 2009, PGDS has continued operating via small grants and donations received and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We see enormous advantage in working with the GHS to improve knowledge and appreciation of historic parks and gardens and will be working closely with the Society over the coming months to establish better links.

Do visit the site and tell us what you think…

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