In caring for, or managing change in, historic parks, gardens and other landscapes, there are often many features, historic layers and diverse interests like biodiversity to consider as well as the business and economic viability of the property whether it is a home, agricultural estate, public park, hotel or visitor attraction. Conservation management plans have been developed as a tools to help pull together an understanding of what matters and why, and how to conserve and manage it. From this informed basis, plans are then used to develop programmes of repair, restoration or to draw up proposals for change.
Conservation management plans do not need to be lengthy documents but large and complex historic parks and gardens may require a range of research and survey information. The best plans are structured to meet the needs of the specific property and designed to be used as every day and valued reference documents by the staff managing the site. Often expert consultants need to be brought in the help prepare a plan but is essential that the property team are closely involved and help shape the plan. Thought needs to be given to the sort of plan you need, how to develop it and your budget.
Various organisations have published guidance on preparing plans. A selection of guidance for landscapes available as downloads is provided below. The range of guidance reflects how plans are used to support restoration projects, new developments or agri-environment schemes like Environmental Stewardship. An overview of conservation management planning is given in English Heritage’s handbook The Management & Maintenance of Historic Parks, Gardens & Landscapes. The English Heritage Handbook edited by John Watkins and Tom Wright, 2007 (Francis Lincoln Ltd). English Heritage’s Conservation Principles provide a framework for guidance on policies for repair, intervention, restoration, new work and alteration and enabling development. Detailed advice on researching historic parks and gardens is published in David Lambert, Peter Goodchild and Judith Robert’s 2006 Parks and Gardens. A Researcher’s Guide to Sources for Designed Landscapes published Landscape Design Trust and sponsored by English Heritage.
HLF Conservation Management Plans The Heritage Lottery Fund's Conservation Management Planning (2008) guidance provides advice plans and tips for preparing successful plans. The guidance also explains which HLF projects are likely to require plans and at what stage you will need to do what.
CABE. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment issued A Guide to Producing Parks and Green Space Management Plans in 2004.
Natural England. Natural England’s NE63 - Preparing a Heritage Management Plan (2008), prepared in partnership with English Heritage, is designed to help estate managers prepare Heritage Management Plans (HMP) for conditional exemption from capital taxation or related maintenance funds but is also useful for large country estates.
Natural England's Higher Level Environmental Stewardship provides a range of land management guidance.