Heritage gardening programme launches

A gardener on a hydraulic cherry picker trimming the yew hedge behind a statue of Hercules. Powis Castle and Garden, Powys, Wales
Published : 29 Sep 2016 Last update : 03 Oct 2016

We’re stepping up our commitment to heritage horticulture with the launch of a new Heritage Gardening Programme.

The programme will for the first time offer comprehensive training across all of our gardening roles.

From volunteer gardeners and trainees to garden managers, it will put in place a formal structure to provide development opportunities within our organisation.

To complement the training, internal bursaries will be made available to allow our gardeners to travel to other properties if needed, in order to acquire new skills.

More opportunities

A key part of the programme will be the launch of Heritage Skills Passports, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The passports will provide volunteers and gardeners with the opportunity to acquire a wide range of horticultural skills by tracking the user’s development and linking to available training courses.

Supporting heritage gardening

'The National Trust's Heritage Gardening Programme is a response to the sector's skills shortage, particularly in heritage gardening,' said Mike Calnan, our head of gardens.

'It offers more entry points into the organisation, more opportunities for staff to share their knowledge with colleagues and for the Trust to develop the skills we need in order to look after the 240 heritage gardens in our care.'

This is the second stage in our revamp of the gardening training programme. Last year we announced a partnership with the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme (HBGTP) funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and run by English Heritage.

The HBGTP aims to help sustain and develop the gardeners of the future with its recruitment training programme. The continued partnership with the HBGTP has secured full-time salaried placements for trainee gardeners across 16 of our heritage gardens.

National Trust gardeners at work at Cotehele, Cornwall

Careers in our gardens 

We've been training gardeners for decades and have launched two courses designed for those wishing to develop careers in heritage gardening.