Research and conserve historic landscapes during the lockdown

Coronavirus has deposited us in a very strange and unsettling landscape, bringing many challenges for all of us. However, even during the lockdown we can still do a lot of research to help protect our historic landscapes. The Historic Landscape Project has put together some ideas of things you could do until life gets back to normal.

Research historic parks and gardens

For those of you already researching historic parks and gardens, or who are keen to get started, there is a huge amount of material online and lots you can do from home.

Online research

Here are a few of the many free resources available online that you can use to carry on historic and site surveys from home:

And, of course, many local libraries, archives or museums have made at least some of their collections available digitally.

Write up and share research

If you have already done site visits and know your landscapes and their present condition really well, now is the time to get down to writing up the history and description of the landscape.

You can contribute your research to online databases such as Parks and Gardens UK and the Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens Register, via their Enriching the List initiative.

It would also be an ideal time to brush up your understanding of a site’s significance and submit the information to your county Historic Environment Record. These records are very important in helping to protect historic parks and gardens in the planning process.

Help us conserve historic parks and gardens

Please do look at our weekly list of planning applications affecting Registered parks and gardens to see if you can contribute your local knowledge to our responses. The weekly list is available from your CGT’s planning team, or on the Garden Trust’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. We don’t want anything to slip through the net during this period.

Stay in touch

The HLP will need to postpone its training and networking events for the next few months at least, but we are working on other ways of staying in touch with CGT volunteers. If you haven’t yet tried out video calls and group chats to stay in touch with fellow volunteers, we are preparing some straightforward instructions about signing up and using the main online platforms, such as Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom.

Please contact Tamsin McMillan if you have ideas to share about what volunteers can do to help support local parks and gardens during this period, or would like to join the Historic Landscapes Project mailing list. If you would like to sign up for email updates about, or would like to contribute ideas to, our next theme, Unforgettable Gardens, please email Sally Bate.

Stay home, stay well and enjoy exploring historic landscapes in the virtual world!

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Painswick Roccoco Gardens, the Red House, Photo © Joab Smith