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Scotland's best gardens go online

22 March 2007

Horticultural inspiration is just a click away as details of the best gardens in the country go online for the first time.

The Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes records of  the best estates and parks in the country and it can now be searched on the Historic Scotland website.

Tony Cairns, Head of the Project,  explained why it was important that we understand  Scotland’s history can be found in its landscape as well as its buildings and monuments.

“Such sites are a fragile, often vulnerable, element of our historic environment. They are crucial for many reasons – not least because they often form the essential setting for many of our most significant buildings and make a major contribution to the scenic quality of Scotland.”

The public can now read about each garden’s important features by visiting

The Inventory goes beyond recording the estates of country houses and castles and includes public parks, cemeteries and other sites of regional and national importance.

Mr Cairns added: “The Inventory recognises all types of landscape. Glasgow’s Necropolis, Kelvingrove and many of the gardens in Edinburgh New Town are good examples of places that mean a lot to the people who use them. They affect how people view where they live and are iconic to Scotland.”

The Inventory does not provide statutory protection but Historic Scotland must be consulted on development proposals affecting an Inventory site. The agency can also advise on managing change to the landscape to minimise the impact on its historic character.

Inclusion on the Inventory does not mean that they are open to the public. Some owners chose to allow some access and details , where known, are included on the website.

Notes for editors

  • There are more than 3,000 gardens and designed landscapes of varying size, character, value and condition in Scotland. There are approximately 330 sites included on the Inventory, though to date more than 1,000 have been considered.

  • A value system is used to assess and compare sites. Each garden is considered against seven categories – Work of Art; Historical; Horticultural, Arboricultural and Silvicultural; Architectural; Scenic; Nature Conservation and Archaeological. Sites are awarded a merit category based on their current condition: Outstanding, High, Some, Little or None.

  • Once a site has been selected for inclusion, a preliminary search if the documentary evidence is made and the site is the physically surveyed. Primary material such as historic maps, estate and family records, photographs, designs and plans are used alongside secondary sources including books, statistical records and magazine articles.

  • Set on a prominent hill above Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis is one of Scotland’s first planned garden cemeteries. Created in Victorian times, it contains outstanding tombs and architectural features by eminent designers such as Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

  • Kelvingrove Park was created in the centre of Glasgow in the med 19th century. Charles Wilson and Sir Joseph Paxton were among those who contributed to its design.

  • The internationally recognised New Town Gardens comprise a series of 18th and 19th century town gardens, squares and walks. Although broadly contemporary with other developments in city planning, Edinburgh New Town has the most extensive system of public and private open space, designed to take full advantage of the topography and Edinburgh townscape.

  • Historic Scotland is responsible for keeping and updating the nation’s list of buildings and structures that warrant legal protection due to their architectural or historic importance. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Executive.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873