Balancing the Challenges – Managing Heritage Landscapes alongside Contemporary Needs

April 2nd 2022

The Essex Gardens Trust & Essex Record Office present a joint symposium on 'Balancing the Challenges – Managing Heritage Landscapes alongside Contemporary Needs'.

The theme of the day is to explore some of the many challenges that heritage landscapes and gardens face today in trying to balance competing priorities of preservation, conservation, ecology, sustainability, and public access.

Lunch is included in the ticket price and attendees will be contacted about this closer to the date of the event.

Saturday 2nd April, 2022
10:00am - 3:30pm

Essex Record Office
Wharf Road

£30 per ticket

To purchase tickets, please visit:

Itinerary below:

From 9.30

Registration and Coffee

10.00 – 10.10

Welcome – Martin Astell (ERO) and Patricia Sinclair (EGT)

10.10 – 10.25

Twigs Way – Researcher in Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Introductory remarks

10.25 – 10.55

Alison Moller – Garden Historian, lecturer, and researcher

Essex Traces - The landscape context for Essex landscape heritage sites

This talk traces the geological formation of the land beneath the historic landscapes of Essex, beginning in the Cretaceous Period, 80 million years ago. By the time of the Tudors, the archaeological record was supplemented by a more continuous written history of garden and landscape design.

10.55 – 11.15 Break

11.15 – 12.15

Peter Hughes QC – Chair, The Gardens Trust

Opening the gates - Conservation and the Challenges of Garden Tourism

Peter Hughes QC chose this subject for his Masters’ degree dissertation in Garden and Landscape History. He undertook a case study of six important gardens around the country, some in public and some in private custodianship, and interviewed head gardeners and other prominent figures involved in garden conservation.

12.15 – 1.15 Lunch

1.30 – 2.00

Liz Lake – Landscape Architect

How are the Key Characteristics of Historic Landscapes reinterpreted in contemporary landscape design?

Our historic landscapes can be a source of inspiration for modern day designers and an additional reason why they should be managed and conserved. Liz Lake picks out some of the key features from historic designed landscapes and looks at how they have been reworked for our times.

2.00 – 2.45

Stephen Smith – Historic Gardens Consultant

A Vision for Landscape Conservation

Many historic gardens and landscapes are managed by bodies with a culture and expectation which diverges greatly from those which envisage their restoration and conservation. Prejudice against exotic plant species on the one hand and an underappreciation of habitat management on the other are common points of divergence. The different approaches, particularly in relation to the management of plants, are often detrimental to the original vision of a conservation project. In his paper Stephen Smith will share his observations, drawing on examples of landscape conservation schemes on the London fringes of Essex and beyond, to identify the problems as well as proffer some mutually beneficial solutions.

2.45 – 3.00 Break

3.00 – 3.30

Ailsa Wildig – Chair of The Tuesday Research Group, Warley Place

From historic garden to nature reserve – How Warley Place still respects its garden history

This case study will look at the many challenges faced by this historic and valuable site and how these are being addressed through the newly produced Parkland Management Plan.

3.30 – 3.45 (latest) Twigs Way - Closing remarks