Board of Trustees

Peter Hughes QC, Chairman

Peter Hughes is Chairman of the Board of the Gardens Trust. After a career as a barrister in private practice, head of a large London set of chambers, and, from 2007, as a Circuit Judge, Peter Hughes retired from the Judiciary in July 2018. As head of chambers he had significant managerial and administrative experience. He completed a master’s degree course in Garden and Landscape History at London University in September 2020. He lives with his wife in the Lake District, where they care for an Arts and Craft house and garden. He is a member of the Cumbria Gardens Trust and, having been a member of the Garden History Society, of the Gardens Trust.

Christopher Blandford

Chris Blandford is a landscape architect, master planner, and heritage specialist. Until 2017 he was Chairman and CEO of the award-winning CBA Studios, which he founded in 1977. Working nationally and internationally, he gained a broad range of technical experience in both the conservation and development fields, as well as considerable managerial and commercial expertise. He is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute, President of World Heritage UK, Vice Chairman of the South Downs National Park Design Review Panel and a past trustee of ICOMOS. He has regularly advised government on design, heritage and environmental matters. In retirement he lives and works in the Weald of Sussex surrounded by the extensive garden that he and his wife have created over 40 years.

Sarah Dickinson, Conservation Committee Chair

Sarah Dickinson is enjoying a second career as a landscape designer and planting consultant following a career in the City as a property lawyer. She has an MSc in the Conservation of Historic Gardens and Cultural Landscapes from Bath University and is Chair of the Surrey Gardens Trust. In her spare time she works in her extensive private garden employing and training apprentice gardeners through the Work and Retrain as a Gardener Scheme (WRAGS).

Dr Marion Harney

Dr Marion Harney is a Senior Lecturer in Conservation and Director of Learning and Teaching (PGT), Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath, Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Writer, architectural, landscape and cultural historian specialising in conservation research and multi-disciplinary conservation education, she is Vice Chair of the Conservation Committee. Marion is a former member of National Trust Council and current member of their Historic Environment Advisory Group; Member of ICOMOS-UK Cultural Landscapes and Historic Gardens Committee and Member of the Bath World Heritage Site Advisory Group and Chair of their Research Committee.

Virginia Hinze

Virginia Hinze is a landscape architect with a qualification in historic designed landscape conservation. Her work for East Sussex County Council included many designed landscape restoration projects and as English Heritage’s South-East regional landscape architect she undertook planning casework and many mentoring and monitoring projects for the Heritage Lottery Fund, specialising in public park restoration. Subsequent work as a consultant included designing and delivering training courses to the former AGT and County Gardens Trusts. She is a founder and current Council member of Sussex Gardens Trust and a former Council member of the GHS.

Dr Sally Jeffery

Dr Sally Jeffery, FSA, studied History of Art at Birkbeck College, where she wrote her doctoral thesis. She was architectural and garden historian at the City of London for sixteen years, then helped to set up the MA Garden History at Birkbeck, and was a tutor until its closure, and is now an independent lecturer and scholar. She is a member of the Gardens Trust, where she organises lectures and events.

David Lambert

David Lambert is a director of the Parks Agency and for ten years was the Garden History Society’s Conservation Officer. He is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. He has served on specialist advisory panels for the National Trust, Historic England and Historic Royal Palaces. His chief interest is in urban parks and other public landscapes and for many years he was an advisor and monitor for the Heritage Lottery Fund. More recently he has become preoccupied by the climate and ecological emergency.

Dr David Marsh, Education & Training Committee Chair

Dr David Marsh is a garden historian, lecturer and writer. He obtained a PhD in Garden History from Birkbeck College in 2005. Since 2011 he has been co-convener of the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London University. He leads the team who organise online courses and lectures, and also writes the Garden Trust’s weekly blog.

Maureen Nolan, Honorary Secretary

Maureen Nolan is a governance professional with over 30 years’ experience in governance and company secretarial work. Maureen is a Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute and a Fellow of the RSA, and has a BSc in Mathematics & Biophysics and an MSc in Information Science. She has worked for a range of organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors, including Transport for London, ICSA and Age Concern England. Maureen is currently Secretary and Trustee of the London Gardens Trust (LGT) and the Brunel Museum, and Company Secretary & Administrator of the Gas Safe Charity. She also takes minutes and provides governance advice for other organisations including the Social Liberal Forum and the National Liberal Club.

Thadian Pillai

Thadian Pillai is a Design & Strategy Consultant for gardens and designed landscapes. He works across private, public and third sectors, including with diverse organisations such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Southbank Centre; in such contexts, often specialising in social value and audience development. He lectures on subjects relating to gardens and the visual arts, including recently at Parliament in Seoul, to the National Government of South Korea. He is the former Chair of Essex Gardens Trust (2017-2019), and currently sits on the Heritage Steering Committee of an Essex-based Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project.

Rachel Savage, Audience Development, Marketing & Communications Committee Chair

Rachel Savage has over 25 years’ experience in the charity sector. She has considerable experience of strategic and financial planning, brand and audience development, facilitating organisational change, and delivering large scale marketing and fundraising campaigns. Prior to becoming Director of Planning for a full service marketing agency working with a number of charities, she held senior management, marketing and fundraising positions at the RHS, Save the Children and Voluntary Service Overseas.  She has an MA in Landscape History and is researching part-time for a PhD, exploring the relationship between nineteenth-century domestic planning and garden design.

Paul Titcombe

Paul has over 20 years international experience of delivering business change and digital transformation programmes across the information, scientific, education and energy sectors. He has a BA (Hons) in Design and Marketing, a post-graduate diploma in Business Administration and FdSc in Garden and Landscape Design. This is Paul’s first Trustee role.  He is leading on the delivery of a refreshed business plan and is a member of Audience Development and Marketing Communications Committee. He lives in South Northamptonshire with his partner John and their two mischievous border terriers.

Peter Waine

Peter Waine has a business background having been on both PLC and private company boards. He has been visiting professor at Warwick and Cass Business schools and is Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. He was Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) from 2008 to 2014 and has also been Chairman of the Tree Council and of the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. He is a former Trustee of the Royal Opera House and an author of a number of business books and books on the English countryside.

Lisa Watson, Honorary Treasurer and Vice Chairman

Lisa Watson is Honorary Treasurer and Vice Chairman of the Gardens Trust. She worked for the National Trust at Stowe Landscape Garden for 17 years, starting as a volunteer and then becoming Estate Secretary until she retired in 2009. She has been Company Secretary of the London Gardens Trust and is their Treasurer and Chairman. She was Treasurer of the Association of Gardens Trusts.

Chloe Bennett

Chloe Bennett is ex-officio on the Board of the Gardens Trust. She is Chairman of Scotland’s Garden and Landscape Heritage.

Joanna Davidson

Joanna Davidson is ex-officio on the Board of the Gardens Trust. She is Chairman of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and lives on Anglesey. Her degree was in archaeology, followed by more than a decade of farming. Joanna retrained in horticulture, establishing a small business which has enabled her to design, plant, advise and lecture on horticulture in North Wales for the last 20 years, whilst also running a small plant nursery.