About the Yorkshire Gardens Trust

Parcevall Hall gardens

The Yorkshire Gardens Trust, formed in 1996, is a charity that works to conserve and foster this county's garden heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

We have over 350 members who support our aim to improve awareness and appreciation of the value of parks, gardens and designed landscapes as part of our local and national inheritance.

Education programme Our Team works in schools to create a new generation of enthusiasts by giving advice and providing grants.

Conservation team Helping to protect our county's green heritage, we give advice and financial support through our Small Grants Scheme.

Research group Documenting our historic landscapes is critical. In addition to contributing to the national database, we also conduct local projects.

Publications We publish a bi-annual Newsletter for our members and we have recently published our first book on Yorkshire's historic gardens and gardeners.

Community work Over the last few years, the YGT has organised garden visits for refugees, with our members acting as hosts and informal guides:

  • 2005 - working with Refugee Action in Leeds, a group of Iraqis and Iranians visited Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
  • 2006 and 2007 - in cooperation with the Persian Association of Leeds, visits were arranged to Newby Hall and Brodsworth House and gardens
  • 2008 - we accompanied a small group of refugees from Leeds around Brunswick Organic Nursery and Bishopthorpe Walled Garden, near York. These refugees will be involved in an allotment project, instigated by the Refugee Council in Leeds. We also visited Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate.
  • 2011 - we teamed up with Leeds Refugee Forum for a visit to Wentworth Castle. The photo below shows some of those enjoying the trip - Tariq, Roshan, Tirhas, Zhemil, Ali, Daniel, Iraj, Rachel and Isa from the Forum and Susan, Dick and Liz from YGT.

Members of Leeds Refugee Forum and YGT on a joint visit to Wentworth Castle. Photo by Jane Furse.

Like all county gardens trusts, the YGT aims to improve the awareness and appreciation of the value of parks and gardens as part of our local and national inheritance. However, visiting gardens is still, for the most part, something of a 'socially exclusive' activity, so these visits are intended in part to bring an element of 'social inclusion' into our activities. A garden encapsulates something of our society's past and present, our values and mores, our aspirations; and visiting gardens is a major national activity.

But 'social inclusion' is something of a fashionable notion, and the rewards a garden can bring go far beyond government policies and ticking boxes. Recently settled refugees will mostly live in an urban environment, physically cut off from, possibly unaware of, and often unable to access, the greener surroundings of parks, gardens, and the countryside. At the simplest level, what they appreciate is an enjoyable walk in beautiful surroundings in the company of local people who want to share their passion about gardens. And the added bonus is that our members also find these visits invaluable, seeing familiar scenes through different eyes.

If you would like to contact us about any of these areas please get in touch.

Registered charity No.1060697
Company registration No.03256311
President: The Countess of Harewood
Registered Office: UHY Calvert Smith,
Heritage House, Murton Way,
Osbaldwick, York, YO19 5UW

secretary [at] yorkshiregardenstrust.org.uk

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