Registered Historic Parks & Gardens
Understanding registered historic parks & gardens
Historic parks and gardens are part of Wales’s national identity. They enrich the texture and pattern of our landscapes and form a valuable record of social, cultural and economic change. Many offer outstanding conservation value for wildlife as well as opportunities for public recreation. As a source of enjoyment and learning, and a valuable network of green spaces, our historic parks and gardens play an important role in building a healthier and greener Wales.
Registration identifies parks and gardens which are of special historic interest to Wales. Ranging in date from the medieval period to the mid-twentieth century, registered historic parks and gardens reflect many aspects of our lives from places to live and be remembered through to places to work and play. These nationally important places provide a connection with the lives and ambitions of past generations. Registration helps us to recognise all the special qualities of these parks and gardens and protect them for the benefit of future generations.
Historic parks and gardens are a fragile and finite resource that can be easily damaged or lost. It is important to raise awareness of their significance and to encourage those involved in their management to treat them as valuable and distinctive places. Through their care and commitment to safeguarding these precious assets, we will all be able to enjoy these historic parks and gardens of special historic interest now and in the future.
2. What is registration?
Registration is the way that a park or garden of special historic interest is recognised by law through the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The statutory register will come into force during 2021. It will incorporate the existing non-statutory register, which was first published in six county volumes between 1994 and 2002, together with a supplementary volume in 2007.
Although it is the responsibility of the Welsh Ministers to compile the register, in practice, we — Cadw — recommend which parks and gardens should be registered or deregistered. In preparation for the introduction of the statutory register, we are reviewing the boundaries of all registered historic parks and gardens and consulting with owners and occupiers.
The terms ‘registered historic park and garden’ are wide ranging and include not only rural landscapes and parks around country houses, but also deer parks, model farms, hospital landscapes, cemeteries, town gardens and public parks. Many are multi-period with features of different styles and periods.
Changes to registered parks and gardens are managed through the planning system. Registration is not a preservation order, but it is intended to help manage change and protect the park or garden, its setting and its features from unsympathetic works that could damage its special interest. You can find out more about the planning system in Managing Change to Registered Historic Parks and Gardens in Wales.
There are around 400 registered historic parks and gardens in Wales. We continue to add sites to the register, and sometimes remove them. All registered historic parks and gardens are of special historic interest but we grade them using a system similar to that used for listed buildings (I, II* and II). We consider the historic layout, features and architectural ornaments of a park or garden together when determining a grade.
Grade I — parks and gardens of exceptional interest. These make up around 10 per cent of the total number of registered parks and gardens in Wales.
Grade II* — parks and gardens of great quality. These make up around 23 per cent of the total number of registered parks and gardens in Wales.
Grade II — parks and gardens of special interest. These make up around 67 per cent of the total number of registered parks and gardens in Wales.
Regardless of their grade, all registered historic parks and gardens are treated equally within the planning system.
3. How are parks and gardens chosen for registration?
We assess each park and garden on its own merits. We take into account a number of factors when deciding whether a park or garden has the special historic interest needed for registration.
Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment sets out the criteria for registration. All parks and gardens which meet one or more of the following criteria must be registered:
• illustrate some particular aspect of the history of gardens, parks, designed grounds, designed ornamental landscapes and places of recreation, or the history of gardening, ornamental landscaping or horticulture
• have significant historic associations (for example, with a particular person or event)
• have a group value with buildings or other land and the group value is of historic interest; for example, they may provide a historic setting for a building of historic interest.
Registered historic parks or gardens can be:
• designed grounds
• designed ornamental landscapes
• places of recreation.
Occasionally, registration may include adjacent or contiguous buildings, water, or land.
We do not take into account the condition or use of a park or garden when considering it for registration.
4. Finding out about registered historic parks and gardens
We give each registered historic park and garden a record. These will be published later in 2021 in Cof Cymru — National Historic Assets of Wales on Cadw’s website
Each register entry includes:
- the name of the park or garden
- its grade
- a reference number and the National Grid Reference
- a brief description
- the primary reasons reason for registration
- a map that indicates the extent of the garden or park, and identifies significant views.
The boundary shown on the map defines the overall area that we consider to be of significance and is based on our research. Current land ownership does not have a bearing on defining the boundary. We use historical documents and maps together with evidence collected during fieldwork to define the boundary of a garden or park. Sometimes, features such as walls and gates provide a clear indication of where a boundary can be drawn. In other circumstances, where the evidence is less clear, we use professional judgment to determine the most logical line of the boundary.
Although a register entry will mention the features which led to the registration, it may not be a complete record of all the features of importance. This means that it is important to remember that the absence of any feature does not mean that it is not of interest.
The register of historic parks and gardens in Wales was originally published in a series of seven volumes, each with a long description of the registered sites. This information is available from us on request. Further information may also be available from the National Monuments Record of Wales, online at http://www.coflein.gov.uk
Registered parks and gardens may contain listed buildings and scheduled monuments. You can check for these on Cof Cymru.
You can find out more information about listed buildings and scheduled monuments in:
5. How to request a registration
There are about 400 registered parks and gardens in Wales. Parks and gardens can still be added to the register and you can make requests to us for individual parks or gardens to be registered.
Before submitting your request, it is a good idea to check whether the park or garden is already registered. You can do this by contacting us or you can check on Cof Cymru — National Historic Assets of Wales, once the records of registration are published later in 2021.
You should send your request for registration to us at email@example.com explaining why the park or garden should be added to the register and include:
- name, address/location of the park or garden, with postcode or map reference
- contact details for the owner/occupier, if known
- recent photographs showing the park or garden’s current appearance and special features
- information about the history of the park or garden — such as the date of construction, original use and historical development, special architectural features, and any people or events associated with it. If possible, you should include written or photographic evidence to support your request and tell us what sources you have used to find out about the park or garden.
- reasons why you think the park or garden may meet the criteria for registration.
We will assess the information to see whether the park or garden meets the national criteria for registration. If we recommend it for registration, we will normally consult owners and occupiers of the site, together with the local planning authority and the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust, before registration takes place.
The input of landowners and managers who know the site well is often invaluable to our understanding of its significance. It also gives us the opportunity to explain fully the implications of registration and answer any questions that arise. We will therefore make every effort to consult all owners and occupiers. However, this may not always be possible if we are unable to identify all owners and occupiers, especially for large sites with multiple owners.
Occasionally, if a historic park or garden is under threat, we may not be able to consult fully before registration, but we will make sure that the owner is informed as soon as possible.
If the park or garden is registered, we will tell the owner, occupier and local planning authority.
6. How to request changes to the register
You may ask us to review our decision to register historic parks and gardens, including their grade, or amend or remove a register entry. You will need to provide substantial supporting evidence that demonstrates that a mistake has been made during the registration process, or the land no longer meets the criteria for registration, or significant new evidence has emerged to show that the land should not form part of the registered area.
Before writing to us, it is a good idea to get advice from an expert who has specialist knowledge about the registration of historic parks and gardens. The Welsh Historic Gardens Trust may be able to offer advice or recommend an expert. www.whgt.org.uk
7. Does registration restrict what I can do?
Unlike listing or scheduling, registration does not impose any additional consent regime and we are not usually involved in the day-to-day management and maintenance of registered historic parks and gardens. Instead, they are protected chiefly through the planning system.
You can find out more about applying for planning permission in Managing Change to Registered Historic Parks and Gardens in Wales.
Registration is not intended to prevent change but, instead, to highlight the significance of a registered historic park or garden so that it can be taken into account during plan making and development decisions.
Although not a consequence of registration, you may need specific consent to make any changes to listed buildings and scheduled monuments in your registered historic park or garden.
You can find out more about listed building consent and scheduled monument consent in:
Other considerations may also apply, such as conservation area status, Tree Preservation Orders or Hedgerow Regulations, and you can find out more about these in Managing Change to Registered Historic Parks and Gardens in Wales.