Our Conservation Committee exists to advise and assist owners and to support the activities of our Conservation Officer John Clark. John, a former Chartered Town Planner, was the Garden History Society's Conservation Officer for the SouthWest Region for over 9 years. He has considerable knowledge of designed landscapes and has offered local planning authorities specialist advice about development proposals affecting historic parks and garden and their setting, and has established a good working relationship with all the local planning authorities in Devon who value his expertise and advice on conservation and planning.
Members can take part in practical garden recording, including public parks. Over 200 sites are already covered. These reports form part of the Trust's archive that also includes garden details extracted from the exceptional collection of sale catalogues in the Devon Heritage Centre and indices to collections of illustrations of our historic gardens. All the illustrations on this website can be found in our archive and many more are included in our publications. Research into particular aspects of historical garden development is undertaken by some of our members e.g. bath houses, 19th century Devon Gardeners.
As well as offering advice and support to owners, the Trust has carried out practical projects including tree planting at Langdon Court and planting new spaces on the Cathedral Green in the centre of Exeter.
The DGT has work worked closely with Torbay Borough Council on the recreation of the Lutyen's garden at the Drum Inn, Cockington and the Rock Walk in Torbay. The Trust is also working closely with the developer of Oldway Mansion in Paignton to restore the Duchene designed landscape. In addition, our Conservation group worked with the Devon Historic Buildings Trust to restore a pavilion at RHS Rosemoor and has helped the Exeter Historic Buildings Trust with a new garden at 21 The Mint. DGT is also supporting a local group (Friends of Eastcliff) who are restoring a walled garden in Teignmouth.
In 2013 DGT backed a submission to Historic England (formerly English Heritage) to add the Italian Garden at Great Ambrook to the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. This was successful in 2014 and the Italian Garden became the 54th site to be added to the Register in Devon.
The Devon Gardens Trust is working with several conservation groups in Exeter, including Exeter Historic Buildings Trust, Exeter Civic Society, Exeter Local History Society and others on plans to restore the 18th Century 'Dissenter's' graveyard located on Magdalen Street in Exeter. More details about this project can be accessed here.
The Trust was commissioned by English Heritage to advise on the reappraisal of the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, following which several sites were added to the Register. The Devon Local Register followed on from this work and DGT has advised all the local planning authorities of the significant historic designed landscapes in their areas; most of the sites (there are over 220) are now protected by local plan policies. This is perhaps the Trust's major contribution to conserving and protecting the historic landscapes in Devon
The Conservation Committee would welcome comments, enquiries or suggestions about any of our historic gardens, particularly if they are under threat in any way.