Conservation Management Plan Project
The Gardens Trust maintains a reference list of Conservation Management Plans relating to historic designed landscapes.
Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) are valuable tools for developing informed management strategies for historic designed landscapes. CMPs typically include research on a site’s history, development and surviving state, and taken together they form a sizeable body of material on the UK’s historic designed landscapes.
In 2011, Garden History, the journal of The Gardens History Society (now the Gardens Trust) published an open letter on Conservation Management Plans for Historic Landscapes by John Phibbs which, amongst other things, raised the issue of the unharnessed potential of CMPs as a large and significant body of research. Largely in response to the debate this sparked, in 2012 the GHS launched a project to compile a reference list of CMPs and related research for historic designed landscapes. This was managed by Linden Groves and made possible with sponsorship and support from Historic England (then English Heritage).
Over 12 months, the project called for references for CMPs from garden historians, landscape architecture practices, County Gardens Trusts, national heritage organisations, local authorities and individual properties. It then collated these into a list to be made available online, then on the Parks & Gardens UK website. In turn, Parks & Gardens UK updated individual site entries to include reference to particular CMPs.
Since 2012, the Gardens Trust has continued to request details of CMPs, adding these to the list. We are delighted that the latest version of the list includes almost 1500 entries.
To submit details of a CMP, please email us with as many as possible of this following details:
- Site name
- Location (including county)
- HE Register grade, if applicable
- Purpose (e.g. Heritage Lottery Fund, Environmental Stewardship, English Heritage, Task Force Trees, planning application etc)
- Status e.g. draft, final
- Where to find a reference copy (preferably a public record office or library) and/or a web link
- If you are not the author/owner of the CMP, please try to obtain permission first, and let us know whether this has been done.
- Please alert us if there may be copyright issues.
- Would you be interested in submitting the CMP to the Hestercombe archive?
Electronic copies of CMPs can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, to be forwarded to the proposed archive of CMPs at Hestercombe Gardens Trust’s Centre of Landscape Studies.
Scope of the project
This Gardens Trust project to compile a list of CMPs is the first of its kind and as such has inevitably been exploratory in nature.
Such a list has been long desired by the sector so this first foray into compiling it has been met with broad support. The project stimulated further discussion about CMPs and these ideas and issues have been recorded so that they can be explored further by our sector in due course.
The project remit was not to collect copies (electronic or otherwise) of the CMPs, but the Gardens Trust does recognise that it would be valuable to develop an archive of CMPs with a searchable database. The Hestercombe Gardens Trust (Somerset) plans to set up a Centre of Landscape Studies with a CMP archive and has advised on the Gardens Trust CMP project.
It has also been recognised that there are similar documents to CMPs – accredited student dissertations, for example – that would be useful additions to a list such as this. This project has provided a useful exploration of the processes involved, and it is hoped to be able to broaden the criteria for inclusion in future, either within this or a separate but related list.
Submissions to the list have been given voluntarily. The best examples include full bibliographic reference details but in others only limited information has been provided. Most notable omissions are missing publication dates, direction as to where a copy of the CMP is held, and precise titles (typically substituted with generic document descriptions, e.g. ‘Parkland Plan’). These incomplete entries have been included as an indicator that some research has been carried out and it is hoped more information can be added at a later date.
The published list is not intended to be a definitive catalogue of all CMPs relating to historic designed landscapes but it is hoped more CMPs will be added in future, growing it to become a comprehensive reference. It is also intended to add CMP details to individual Parks & Gardens UK site entries as more information becomes available (see below).
Access to CMPs
The list aims to provide researchers notice of whether or not there is a CMP for an individual site and, if available, information on where a reference copy is held.
Many CMPs are available to study at publicly accessible archives or indeed online. However, for a host of reasons, researchers should not assume that CMPs held by privately owned parks and gardens are automatically available for study. Similarly, limitations on availability may apply to CMPs held by consultants, and charges may have to be made for providing advice or copies.
In any case, permissions should be sought from the CMP’s owner and author before any material is copied or reproduced.
Further information on Conservation Management Plans
- Heritage Lottery Fund, Conservation plan guidance, October 2012
- Watkins, John and Wright, Tom, ed, The Management & Maintenance of Historic Parks, Gardens & Landscapes. The English Heritage Handbook, 2007 (Francis Lincoln Ltd)
- The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), A Guide to Producing Parks and Green Space Management Plans, 2004
- Natural England, NE63 – Preparing a Heritage Management Plan, 2008
- The Garden History Society, PCAN 13: Briefs for Historic Landscape Assessments and PCAN 14: Management Plans
We are grateful to all those who have contributed to the list so far – landscape architects, other organisations, County Gardens Trust volunteers, individual gardens and local authorities, and for the advice and support of the Hestercombe Gardens Trust.