What is gardens conservation?

Terry Gough, Head of Gardens & Estates for Historic Royal Palaces, explains what it means for the Historic Royal Palaces.

What is gardens conservation?

We strive at all times to present the gardens and estate to the highest achievable standard in order to provide our visitors with an enjoyable and memorable experience.

The role of the Gardens & Estate team is to conserve the gardens and estate and their historic features for us, and future generations to enjoy. This is achieved through on going maintenance work, repair and renewal and major restoration projects.

We adopt all of the recognised conservation processes and practices in looking after the gardens and sites in our care, in order to ensure that these heritage sites retain their cultural significance.


By using this definition we have written a Gardens, Estate and landscape conservation management plan for all our sites. 

These plans consider the landscapes as a patchwork of areas differing in age, character and significance, each character area’s significance and vulnerability is recorded. This enables conservation policies and detailed plans to be prepared for each character area.

On the ground

The landscape conservation management plan also helps us to decide upon the standard of maintenance required for each area and prioritise our staff and other resources. The complex design of many of the character areas means that we have to adopt intricate, detailed high standards of maintenance.

We use traditional gardening skills and techniques where relevant and appropriate, whilst at the same time using modern time saving machinery to guarantee sustainability. Through our planning, regular garden maintenance and cyclical replacement of planting we aim to conserve as much of the garden fabric as possible.

In addition to our core horticultural tasks, the work that we do in managing Home Park and its ecology is also of great importance. This area has been designated a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation (an S.M.I.N.C.). Its mixture of rare acid grassland, avenues of trees, historic waterways and the herd of fallow deer together create this rural open landscape.

Using the recently completed ecological survey of Home Park, we are developing an ecological action plan, which will guide our future activities in this area.

We trust that our visitors will appreciate both the beauty and history of our historic gardens and green spaces, and will want to learn more about them.

More about conservation

More about gardens

Ask the conservators

Ask the conservatorsLook for our conservators around the palaces wearing ‘Ask the Conservators’ badges. They’ll be happy to tell you about what they’re doing to conserve the palaces’ collections and to answer your questions.

Supporting us

Palace upkeep is expensive work and as an independent charity we receive no funding from the Government or the Crown. We depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. 

Become a member, donor or volunteer 

Downloadable Resources

Some files are provided in PDF format - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

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    Gardens, Estate and Landscape: Conservation Management Plan
    (Adobe PDF, 7515KB)

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