Wales has a rich inheritance of historic parks and gardens. They form an important and integral part of the historic and cultural fabric of the country.
Cadw has undertaken a comprehensive survey of historic parks and gardens in Wales. Those thought to be of national importance have been included on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. The Register was compiled in order to aid the informed conservation of historic parks and gardens by owners, local planning authorities, developers, statutory bodies and all concerned with them. It is non-statutory and has been issued in six volumes. It was completed in 2002 but is not a closed list - sites can be added (or subtracted) at any time. There are currently almost 400 sites on the Register.
Sites on the Register are graded I, II* and II in the same way as listed buildings. Approximately 10 per cent of sites are grade I and 23 per cent grade II*. Grade I sites, such as Bodnant, Powis Castle, Dynevor Park, Margam Park, Erddig, Plas Brondanw and Raglan Castle, are of international importance.
Parks and gardens on the Register range from medieval to late twentieth century. Many are multi-period, with features of different styles and periods.
The Welsh Historic Gardens Trust publishes a comprehensive booklet on parks and gardens that are open to the public, The Guide to the Historic Parks and Gardens of Wales.
Cadw can help with the protection of historic parks and gardens through advice to local planning authorities on planning applications affecting registered sites. The aim is to prevent damage to significant features of the sites, such as historic layout, structure, built features and planted elements. It is not the intention to preserve everything as it is; in fact, in many cases development is both benign and beneficial. However, it is important not to let insensitive development harm the historic and visual character of historic parks and gardens and consultation on planning applications is a helpful mechanism to try to prevent this.
A voluntary system of consultation is in place on planning applications impacting on historic parks and gardens – local authorities are asked to refer all applications to the Garden History Society and those affecting grade I and II* parks and gardens to Cadw.
Any enquiries in connection with historic parks and gardens should be addressed to Inspector of Historic Parks and Gardens, Cadw, Plas Carew, Unit 5/7 Cefn Coed, Parc Nantgarw, Cardiff CF15 7QQ or email firstname.lastname@example.org