How are historic parks and gardens protected?
Each country in the UK has it own heritage agency to identify and protect nationally important designed landscapes.
- English Heritage compiles the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, which includes some 1,600 designed landscapes. Each one is given a grade I, II* or II, in the same way as buildings are listed. The Register forms part of the National Heritage List for England.
- The Northern Ireland Environment Agency maintains the Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest which has information on more than 150 of an estimated 300 important designed landscapes in Northern Ireland.
- In Scotland, Historic Scotland compiles the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, which can be consulted on-line. So far, 385 of an estimated 3,000 designed landscapes in Scotland have been included on the Inventory. Sites are awarded merits - Outstanding, High, Some, Little or None - in a range of different value categories.
- In Wales, Cadw is the agency responsible for the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. There are almost 400 sites on the Register so far. As in England, they are graded I, II* and II.
Of course, many historic parks and gardens do not make it on to a national list, but are still important locally or regionally. Organisations such as the Garden History Society, the Gardens Trusts in England and Wales, and other local history groups carry out research, maintain their own lists and raise awareness of historic parks and gardens in their areas. They also put forward suggestions for landscapes to be included on national registers and inventories.