The group comprised volunteers who came together from a shared
interest in gardening and landscape history.
The primary method of information gathering was by desktop research, using historic photographs, maps and other material. In addition site visits would be made to gain "on the ground" information.
To augment existing skills derived from previous or current occupations, the group contracted Community Archaeologist Kevin Cale to act as guide and mentor and to identify and provide training to hone skills such as map reading and interpretation, working with archive sources and field work recording and observation.
Our initial target was to produce within two years a gazetteer of historic parks and gardens and other designed landscapes within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Our starting point was a study of historical maps and we were surprised to discover over 200 sites of potential interest. Given the time constraints of the first phase of the project, we then decided we would visit fifty per cent of these sites.
By the end of this phase, the group had identified and documented a total of 230 designed landscapes including mediaeval deer parks, domestic orchards, landscape parks and Victorian gardens, grottoes and follies.
The results were incorporated into a database and a summary of findings was created. Printed copies of this were produced and deposited with North Yorkshire County Council Records Office, Harrogate Borough Council and the Nidderdale AONB. Data from the database was also used to contribute to the Parks and Gardens UK database (Parks and Gardens UK website )
In 2008 the group conducted a survey of the gardens and grounds of
Weston Hall near Otley during which the notable elements of these where
recorded, geolocated and photographed.
Following the completion of the exercise, a photographic album was compiled and provided to the owner of the house.
The farm at Nutwith Cote, situated adjacent to Hackfall between Ripon and Masham, proved an interesting study.
A short booklet covering the history of Nutwith Cote and a self-guided walk leaflet around Nutwith Cote were produced. Details available on the Publications tab to the left of this page.