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Development Plan 2013-2017

Our Mission

To be the leading on-line resource for historic parks and gardens providing freely accessible, accurate and inspiring information on UK parks, gardens and designed landscapes and all activities concerned with their promotion, conservation and management

To achieve this, our five-year development plan is guided by six strategic objectives:

  • Expanding and maintaining the UK’s largest, freely accessible database of information about our nation’s historic landscapes and those key people who have helped to create it;
  • Providing an online focus for UK garden history and conservation organizations, education, news and events;
  • Facilitating accessibility to UK historic landscapes for the enjoyment and education of visitors and others interested in their conservation and care;
  • Working with individuals, local and national organizations to understand, record and protect UK historic parks, gardens and other designed landscapes;
  • Promoting the education and training of professionals, students, children, and the general public at all levels to recognize and understand the importance of UK historic landscapes;
  • Raising awareness of and support for UK designed landscapes at risk through neglect, development or misuse.

Management and Structure

1.1 Parks and Gardens Data Services Ltd (henceforth Parks & Gardens UK) became a company limited by guarantee in 2007 and a registered charity in 2009. Its object as set out in its articles of association is ‘to advance the education of the public in particular but not exclusively by providing resources and performing research into parks, gardens and designed landscapes’.

1.2 A Board of Management manages the affairs of Parks & Gardens UK. Its members are trustees of the charity and also directors for the purposes of the Companies Act 1985 and their number should be not less than three but is not subject to any maximum. The Board may appoint additional directors/ trustees subject to their being formally elected at the following AGM and other persons willing to act may be appointed by ordinary resolution. The Board elects its Chair and other honorary officers as appropriate.

1.3 Parks & Gardens UK currently has two self-employed paid part-time posts, a Project Manager and a Data Entry Officer. Each post has a job description: contracts and work programmes are overseen by the Chair of the Board.

1.4 Parks & Gardens UK works closely with the Association of Garden Trusts (AGT) and volunteers within the County Garden Trusts (CGTs). It is also a key member of the ‘Working in Partnership’ scheme with the AGT, The Garden History Society (GHS) and The Garden Museum, and is represented on the steering group of the Capability Brown Tercentenary 2016.

Development Plan 2013-2017

2.1 To achieve its objectives Parks & Gardens UK is dependent on the twin resources of volunteer involvement and income:

VOLUNTEER INVOLVEMENT: The contribution of volunteers is required for the long-term sustainability of the Parks & Gardens UK database and website. Members of CGTs (and others) are already expert recorders of historic gardens and landscapes but could contribute significantly more to the development and maintenance of the database/ website by the input of data, writing articles and posting information. Volunteers with relevant skills could also be responsible for co-ordinating data collection, data input, data input training, promotion and fundraising.

A priority for 2013-2017 is to increase volunteer participation in the database and website development by establishing a closer working relationship with the CGTs, other organizations and individuals.

INCOME: income is required to fund database and website development and management (Project Manager); web hosting and software development (Altcom); (limited) data input (Data Entry Officer); and trustee and volunteer expenses.

A priority for 2013-2017 is to establish a procedure for an on-going process for grant, donation and sponsorship applications; and to capitalize on the commercial potential of the database and website.

2.2 The key tasks of the five-year development plan address these twin priorities:

Five Key Tasks to take forward our strategic objectives:

  • Work with Altcom to develop a vibrant, user-friendly and topical website;
  • Promote the value of the database and associated website information by the use of social media, links, e-newsletters, articles, talks and all other available forms of communication as appropriate;
  • Identify local/ regional volunteer research co-ordinators to liaise with the Parks & Gardens UK Project Manager, or other key person, to ensure CGTs and others acquire and maintain skills and motivation to provide, update and upload data and other information;
  • Drive forward the Working in Partnership programme whereby Parks & Gardens UK will provide a web focus for UK garden history and conservation;
  • Contribute to the Capability Brown Tercentenary 2016 by providing the knowledge base for the project.

Five Key Tasks to develop the sustainability of Parks & Gardens UK:

  • Identify and submit applications to grant-giving charities for core costs and specific projects as required;
  • Identify and approach potential donors/ sponsors for core costs and specific projects as appropriate;
  • Develop commercial/ other income-generating opportunities of the database and website;
  • Work towards submitting an HLF application;
  • Develop and maintain timely and accurate budgets and financial forecasts.

Programme Schedules

3.1 These key tasks will be driven forward by three working groups with responsibility for (1) Website Development and Promotion (2) Database Maintenance and Development, and (3) Fundraising. Working groups will be formed from Parks & Gardens UK trustees and other co-opted experts as appropriate and be accountable to the Parks & Gardens UK Board. The Project Manager, with assistance from the Data Input Officer as required, will be responsible for the administration and smooth day-to-day running of the website and database and will meet regularly with the Chair of the Board.

Dr Barbara Simms (Chair) 8 February 2013