The English Heritage 'Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England', established in 1983, currently identifies over 1,600 sites assessed to be of national importance.
You can search for Registered Parks and Gardens on The National Heritage List for England.
Access to registered sites
The emphasis of the Register is on gardens, grounds and other planned open spaces, such as town squares.The majority of sites registered are, or started life as, the grounds of private houses, but public parks and cemeteries form important categories. Even hospital landscapes and two pumping stations are included, because they have skilfully-planned surroundings reflecting the landscaping fashions of their day. The emphasis of the Register is on 'designed' landscapes, rather than on planting or botanical importance.
Registered sites are not open to the public unless advertised elsewhere as being so.
Why make a Register?
Historic parks and gardens are a fragile and finite resource: they can easily be damaged beyond repair or lost forever. From town gardens and public parks to the great country estates, such places are an important, distinctive, and much cherished part of our inheritance and we have a duty to care for them.
In order to identify those sites which are of particular historic importance, English Heritage is enabled by government to compile the 'Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England'.
Purpose of the Register
The main purpose of this Register is to celebrate designed landscapes of note, and encourage appropriate protection. It is hoped that, by drawing attention to sites in this way, we will increase awareness of their value and encourage those who own them, or who otherwise have a role in their protection and their future, to treat these special places with due care.
Registration is a ‘material consideration’ in the planning process, meaning that planning authorities must consider the impact of any proposed development on the landscapes’ special character.