Parklands Project

The Herefordshire Parklands Project assessed all the county’s parklands, looking at their ecological, historical and archaeological features. Volunteers undertook training to survey parklands and landowners were assisted in safeguarding their parkland’s ecology and history for future generations.

The Herefordshire landscape has been defined by its historic parklands and estates. The parklands of today can be rich tapestries of rare, diverse wildlife and high value habitats. Their ecology and preserved archaeology can give us clues about how they were established perhaps from as far back as mediaeval times, or even earlier. All of these factors together make the UK’s parklands of international importance for their biodiversity and landscape history.
In spite of this, our parklands are under threat. Half of the historic parklands in the West Midlands have been lost in the last 90 years. The veteran trees, homes to a myriad of animals, plants and fungi, have been allowed to decay and die, with little thought to how they might be replaced. The ornamental pools and ponds which could be vital habitats for aquatic wildlife, have been drained or filled in. The designed landscapes, once great assertions of a landowner’s status and influence, have been fragmented and abandoned, before disappearing into the wider countryside forever.
Herefordshire, however, has retained much of its rich parkland heritage, with over 200 historic parklands and gardens scattered around the county. Some have statutory designations, protection or stewardship, but many have not and are vulnerable.

The Herefordshire Parklands Project built up a picture of the current condition of the county’s parklands, looking specifically at the ecological, historical and archaeological features which still exist. Herefordshire’s parklands have been the historic backdrop to the county. Today, they provide havens for amazing wildlife, and they will continue to do so in the future, through the work of the Herefordshire Parklands Project.

The project has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Union EAFRD and DEFRA through the VITAL Herefordshire LEADER programme.