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The Role of Historic Scotland



Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic  environment provides a strong foundation in building a successful future for Scotland. One of our duties is to compile and maintain an Inventory of nationally important gardens and designed landscapes. We do this on behalf of Scottish Ministers under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.




Gardens and designed landscapes are an important element of Scotland's historic environment and landscape. They contribute to our culture, enrich the texture and pattern of our landscapes and form a unique record of social, cultural and economic change through time. They exemplify unique artistic talent, provide the setting of buildings and monuments, offer rich and varied habitats for nature conservation and can form critical repositories of rare or champion trees, shrubs and plant material.

As a source of enjoyment, relaxation and learning, and a valuable network of green spaces, Scotland’s gardens and designed landscapes contribute to the well-being of local communities and have a big role to play in our tourism industry. They offer a superb educational resource in helping us to understand our distinctive built and landscape heritage and the repeating cycles of nature. Meanwhile, private historic estates often remain working landscapes, providing opportunities for employment and contributing to Scotland’s economy.

Like other elements of the historic environment, gardens and designed landscapes are a fragile and finite resource, vulnerable to a range of impacts that can diminish their value and potential. Unlike listing for buildings or scheduling for monuments, there is no statutory protection for Inventory sites. However, Inventory status ensures that the planning process takes into account their special significance when changes are proposed.

Historic Scotland provides advice to local authorities and other partners on managing change in and around these special landscapes. Find out more in our Conserving Gardens & Designed Landscapes page.

How many Inventory sites are there?

The number of Inventory gardens and designed landscapes changes as sites are assessed or re-evaluated. On 31 July 2013 there were 390 Inventory records.

Search the online Inventory here





Stair gazebo, Culzean Castle

Search the Inventory

The list of nationally important gardens & designed landscapes

Search the Inventory

Contact Us

Heritage Management Directorate
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Edinburgh
EH9 1SH
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8716