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Overview of the project

Overview of the project

Parks & Gardens UK is a web resource dedicated to historic designed landscapes across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Parks & Gardens UK consists of a secure database linked to a public website, giving online access to thousands of records on historic parks and gardens contributed by England's County Gardens Trusts, the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and other heritage organisations, such as English Heritage, Cadw, Historic Scotland and the Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Committee.

The project was set up in 2005 as a joint venture between the Association of Gardens Trusts and the University of York, and is now managed by Parks and Gardens Data Services (PGDS), a not-for-profit company and charity. The initial development of this web resource was supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with contributions in-kind by volunteers. A project board directs Parks & Gardens UK, the members of which are Trustees and officers of PGDS. They oversee the work of the project team to ensure smooth day-to-day running of the project.

The web resource went live in 2007 and was under continued development throughout 2009. Today some 7,300 site records and more than 2,100 people records are available online. Digitised maps, plans and images also compliment many of the records. The information in the database will continue to grow as new research becomes available. Many volunteers remain active and have moved on to doing new research. As well as providing access to the database, the web resource features a range of educational resources on aspects of the design, social history, conservation, and people involved with historic designed landscapes. These are aimed at a variety of audiences, including academic researchers, professionals, students of all ages, lifelong learners, garden owners and tourists.


Volunteers on a training day at Bolton Hall, North Yorkshire.

In addition to working closely with volunteers in gardens trusts across England and Wales, Parks & Gardens UK is also recruiting and training new volunteers across the UK to carry out research on historic parks and gardens that interest them, and contribute their findings to Parks & Gardens UK. To find out more, see Research & Record.

Parks & Gardens UK has a multi-layered system of quality control to ensure the accuracy of information on the database:

  • Volunteers and Gardens Trusts are asked to review their records carefully before submission and upon publication to the website.
  • Our data entry team are well qualified in the subject area, as well as having strong data entry experience.
  • An extensive thesaurus controls key fields in the database to ensure consistency of terminology.
  • Database entries are spot-checked for grammatical accuracy and consistency.
  • Contributors can check the published records and submit corrections as necessary at any time.