From Capability Brown’s landscaping of rambling English country estates to the legacy of Le Nôtre at the Palace of Versailles, the garden heritage of the NWE region is rich and diverse, and a cultural asset in need of protection. Yet, the value and significance of these gardens is not always properly recognised by policy-makers. With increasing mechanisation and changing trends there is the risk that traditional gardening skills die out. Recognising the need for forward-planning to safeguard and celebrate ‘garden identities’ in north-west Europe, and consider the about the role of gardens and of landscape gardening within spatial planning, this German-led project brings together 9 partners from Germany, France and the United Kingdom in an effort to promote European gardens and parks as a cultural asset for regional development and as a common heritage feature in NWE. The objective of EGHN is to consolidate the sharing of resources and knowledge, the development of best practice, the creation and the implementation of joint measures and the development of transferable models. Over 5- years the project will integrate the management and marketing of gardens within regional planning strategies through a cross-fertilization of actions among partners, and the definition of transnational garden itineraries, based on the recognition of ‘anchor’ gardens that have a significant cultural and economic impact on the regional landscape. The project will seek to harmonise information on gardens through inter-regional gateways and investigate improvements to access through sustainable transport, as well as develop actions in the fields of education, innovation, conservation and the preservation of skills.
Parks and gardens, in combination with other local cultural and natural assets, offer considerable resources for sustainable development strategies covering urban regeneration, place making, heritage protection, regional development, social inclusion, education, local economies, tourism and others. These effects and benefits can be increased by measures on sites (e.g. signage, services), around sites (e.g. bus services, cycling networks) or on a wider scale (regional networks and gateways, promotional activities, tourism) whenever reasonable resources, support and funding will be available. Key documents are the project website www.eghn.eu itself and - among many others – the Spatial Strategy (finished during the final reporting period), the “EGHN report” published in 2007, the “Value and Impacts Assessment of Tatton Park”, the “Report on the Access Action”, the “Slow Traffic Strategy”, the “Tool Kit on Signage”, “The SEA for Garden Policies” or the case studies and baseline reviews on access for the five anchor gardens. All reports can easily be downloaded from the project website and can be ordered in printed versions from the Lead Partner.