Our history

Lots of purple flowers blossomingThe Devon Gardens Trust was formed in 1988. It was one of the earliest of the thirty six county gardens trusts in England. The need for such organizations had evolved over the preceding five years following the establishment of the Register of Parks and Gardens as a result of the National Heritage Act 1983, prior to which there had been limited protection for designed landscapes. The aim of the Register was to protect all gardens, parks and designed landscapes of special historic interest; sites established up to 1939 were surveyed and recommended for the list with categories the same as for buildings: Grade I, Grade II*, and Grade II. The Devon Group of the NCCPG (National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, now Plant Heritage) had already begun identifying gardens of historic interest and recording them, with the help of the Garden History Society, The National Trust, local authorities and many individuals, a dedicated team of volunteers compiled a preliminary list of 261 of the most significant gardens in Devon. Today there are 56 designed landscapes in Devon on the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest  and over 170 on the Devon Gazetteer of Parks and Gardens of Local Historic Interest.

For a detailed history of the Trust see Devon Gardens Trust, A Short History 1988-2008  (published 2008) 

Officers

Presidents

1988 - 1993 - Lord Clinton
1993 - 1995 - Sir Peter Bristow
1995 - 1998 - Leonard Stocks
1998 - 2007 - Countess of Arran (Patron of the Trust 2007 to date)
2007 - 2015 - Sir Malcolm Field
2015 to date - Michael Hickson VMH

Chairmen

1988 - 1989 - Sir Peter Bristow
1989 - 1990 - Lady O'Hagan
1990 - 1993 - Robin Fausset
1993 - 1996 - Steven Pugsley
1996 - 1999 - Mary Clarke
1999 - 2002 - Joy Williams MBE
2002 - 2006 - Carolyn Keep
2006 - 2009 - Dr Clare Greener
2009 - 2012 - Janet Anderson
2012 - 2016 - Dr Ian Varndell
2016 to date - Dianne Long

Treasurers

1988 - 1989 - Gerry Skinner
1990 - 1994 - Dr Richard Padley
1994 - 2007 - David Quicke
2007 - 2008 - Lucy Allington
2008 - 2012 - Susan Hill
2012 - 2016 - Shirley Tamblyn
2016 - 2019 - Penny Hammond

2019            - Helen Whitmore


Secretaries

1988 - 1999 - David Richardson
1999 - 2014 - Dr Eric Durrance