Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story

(To all Members wishing to participate in this Project as a volunteer please contact Katrina as below)

Protecting Historic Designed Landscapes

The Gardens Trust (the national parent body for all the county gardens trusts) has launched its new project: Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story; funded by Historic England, the project will work closely with Suffolk Gardens Trust, and run until Autumn 2023. The project ties-in with a wider Gardens Trust campaign Unforgettable Gardens, which highlights the value of historic parks and gardens by celebrating their histories and cultural significance, and telling their often-hidden stories, as well as focusing attention on their vulnerability and the threats they face.

Suffolk has a number of potentially significant historic designed landscapes which are vulnerable and in need of protection; we need local volunteers with the knowledge, and expertise to help us identify and research them.  Historic England, in consultation with the Suffolk Gardens Trust are identifying a number of sites which need researching including historic designed landscapes such as Brandon Park, Flixton Park and Woolverstone Park.

The project aims to reach areas across the whole of the county, including more urban areas with less representation such as Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, and Newmarket. We are looking for volunteers to help research the sites which are being identified, and encourage people to contribute by recommending historic parks or gardens they think should be protected – we particularly encourage recommendations of urban gardens, institution and commercial sites, and 20th century designs which are under-researched.

Suffolk has been chosen to run this pilot project and we hope it will lead to people in other counties feeling encouraged to champion their historic gardens and landscapes. The ultimate aim is for Suffolk’s historic designed landscapes to be better understood so that their historical significance gains recognition allowing for greater future protection. 

Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story will centre around volunteers, and the vital role they play in helping to understand and protect historic designed landscapes. The Gardens Trust, along with Historic England, will train volunteers so they have the skills to help us research sites, and a programme of online and in-person research training for Suffolk volunteers will begin in October through to December. Volunteers will be trained in how to research sites of historical significance, turning research in to written reports, with further training taking place in Summer 2023 focusing on how to add reports to Historic England’s online National Heritage List for England (NHLE) and other key databases.

The project will highlight the importance of Suffolk’s historic designed landscapes, and support local communities to champion their landscape heritage. We want anyone with an interest in their local historic environments to get involved, no specialist knowledge is required – just a love for your local outdoor spaces!

To find out more about this project, or volunteering, please get in touch by emailing: karina.flynn@thegardenstrust.org

On Thursday 22nd September 6 – 7.30pm, the Gardens Trust is hosting an Online Welcome Event to introduce anyone with an interest to our new Suffolk-based project. It will be an opportunity to meet us, ask questions, and be part of an informal conversation about how you can contribute as a volunteer. See the Gardens Trust website (https://thegardenstrust.org) for more information.

About me: I am based in Norwich, and have a background in heritage, studying a BA at Brighton, and an MA from Maastricht University where I specialised in cultural memory, exploring WWI historical sites which represent multi-national narratives. I have worked on heritage projects at the Institute of Historical Research, as well as regional projects such as Eighth in the East which explored the legacy of the 8th United States Army Air Force in East Anglia during WWII. In all my roles I have worked with volunteers on a range of programmes which supported the aims of researching and documenting public histories, to ensure that local knowledge and experiences where shared and not lost.

Karina Flynn