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Opening All the Gates: Connecting People and Gardens

OAtG at Spetchley ParkThe Opening All the Gates Partnership (the HHA, National Trust, Association of Garden Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society) took the legacy of the Gateway Gardens Trust as its main inspiration and created and delivered a series of 6 seminars between October 2010 and January 2011 across England supported by English Heritage. The aim was to encourage participation in gardens heritage and, in particular, to encourage gardens owners and managers, historic gardens trusts, heritage organisations and community groups to create their own access projects. Two of the seminars took place at HHA Members: Boughton House in Northamptonshire and Spetchley Park in Worcestershire.

The opening of the  Sensory Garden at Weston ParkThe seminars generated an extraordinary amount of interest, with nearly double the number of anticipated delegates attending, nearly a quarter of which were HHA Members. Each seminar not only sought to ‘deliver’ learning, but also aimed to share learning across the range of expertise represented. The project demonstrated that gardens have the potential to improve health and well-being, to support communities socially and economically, to engage children and adults in new ways of learning and to simply provide time-out? from the hectic lifestyles of the 21st Century. These in turn will help sustain the future of the gardens themselves.

The project exceeded its target by developing nine pilot projects, four of which were at HHA Members:

  • Boughton House in Northamptonshire is working with parents, carers and staff from two urban Children’s Centres in Leicester;
  • Kirkharle Courtyard near Newcastle has partnered Northumberland Wildlife Trust to develop children’s activities and has sited ceramic plaques around the newly created Capability Brown lake which can we used to make rubbings.
  • Weston Park, Shropshire has worked with the local Education and Resource Centre in Wolverhampton, in developing the design and creation of a Sensory Garden..
  • Spetchley Park, Worcestershire, in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, held a training session for teachers together with the offer of a free class visit to Spetchley in the Autumn term.

The OAtG Partnership teamed up with The Heritage Alliance to provide a website to provide a permanent ‘one stop shop’ for advice and support on historic gardens access.

Download the Partnership's report.

Opening All the Gates Project Report