Our Purpose & Activities
Berkshire Gardens Trust exists to identify, understand, appreciate, and promote the conservation of historically significant designed landscapes in Berkshire. Designed Landscapes naturally include gardens and also parks, cemeteries and institutional landscapes such as college grounds.
Historically Significant means that the landscape is important and valuable to this and future generations. The landscape’s importance could be due to its age and survival; its influence on the development of taste and fashion; its rarity; its association with a significant person, historic event or house; or a combination of these factors.
These historically significant landscapes form a precious but often fragile part of our shared history.
Enjoyment of Historical Landscapes
Participation in the Planning Process
Historically designed landscapes are under massive threat for a variety of reasons, mostly notably development but also could be due to neglect and lack of investment, change of ownership or division of a site between multiple owners.
The National Policy Planning Framework gives the Gardens Trust (our umbrella organisation) a Statutory right to be consulted on Planning applications impacting historically significant landscapes. BGT supports the Gardens Trust on appllications in Berkshire. We also contribute to local development plans
We aim to help protect the historically-significant aspects of the designed landscapes. We do not necessarily advocate preserving the landscape “in aspic”, but focus upon the proportionality and appropriateness of proposed changes.
The Berkshire Gardens Trust runs an annual programme of garden visits, lectures and talks.
These events help our members to better understand the historical landscapes in Berkshire and neighbouring counties. From that understanding comes a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the gardens we visit.
This hopefully leads to a desire to care for the landscapes, to help conserve them and allow more people to discover and enjoy them as well.
One of our primary activities is research.
Our goal is to produce a Gazetteer of all the Berkshire parks and gardens – researching the history and current state of each one to understand its significance.
This will include site surveys and historic research using a diverse set of sources such as historical photos and maps, the internet and the Berkshire Records Office. Training is available if you are interested in helping us with this important task.