About Avon Gardens Trust

The Trust seeks to protect and conserve designed landscapes through visits, research and working with owners, local and national organisations to encourage enjoyment, conservation and restoration of these parks and gardens that can range from an arboretum to a walled garden. We also aim to encourage a new generation of gardeners through our work with schools and community groups.

We do this by:

  • researching and recording their origins
  • documenting the work of garden designers, gardeners, plantsmen and owners
  • generating greater links with primary schools and offering grants to develop school gardens
  • promoting links with local community groups
  • assisting with conservation/restoration projects

By becoming a member of Avon Gardens Trust, you will enjoy exclusive information and activities organised by the Trust while helping to support our work.

Become a member of Avon Gardens Trust...

The History of the Formation of County Gardens Trusts

One of our Founders, Mike Dawson has written an article of the formation of the County Gardens Trust, Avon Gardens Trust was one of the first such CGT's. This was first published in Garden History, the journal of the Gardens Trust.

Download the article (PDF) [With thanks to Gardens Trust and Mike Dawson].

Members and friends gather to celebrate our 25th anniversary at Goldney House (photo: Pip Meddleton)

Aims of the Trust

Avon Gardens Trust is dedicated to conservation and promoting awareness of Avon’s historic designed landscapes.

The Trust is financed through members’ subscriptions and from fund raising events. We aim:

  • to encourage a greater understanding of the historic parks and gardens of the area through research and garden visits;
  • to protect historic parks and gardens from inappropriate planning applications;
  • to encourage greater links with primary schools by offering grants to develop school gardens;
  • to promote links with local community groups by offering grants;
  • to assist financially with restoration projects;
  • to organise talks and lectures on a wide range of historic garden related subjects;
  • to publish regular 'News' to keep members informed of the latest news and forthcoming events;
  • to publish an illustrated academic Journal with articles that add to the understanding and enjoyment of parks and gardens;
  • to arrange special garden visits.

Charitable Status

Avon Gardens Trust is a Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Charity No. 900377) regulated by the Charity Commission.

Avon Gardens Trust is governed by its Constitution (pdf).

At the Annual General Meeting, the accounts for the previous year are adopted and Trustees are elected by members.

Avon Gardens Trust is one of 36 county gardens trusts and all are members of the The Gardens Trust.

Professor Timothy Mowl

The President of Avon Gardens trust

We are delighted to Welcome Professor Timothy Mowl as our President.

Tim studied for his doctorate under Sir Howard Colvin at St John’s College, Oxford and joined the University of Bristol in 1992 after a period working as an Inspector of Historic Buildings for English Heritage. In the 1980s he was Architectural Advisor to the Bath Preservation Trust, worked as an architectural critic, journalist and consultant.

His Gentlemen & Players: Gardeners of the English Landscape, charting the influence of aristocrats and professionals on the creation of landscape parks and gardens, was published in 2000. Subsequently, he embarked, aided by former doctoral students acting as researchers and co-authors, upon a Leverhulme-Trust funded nationwide series of the historic landscapes and gardens of England. Historic Gardens of Gloucestershire was published in 2002, Dorset in 2003, Wiltshire in 2004, Cornwall in 2005, Worcestershire in 2006, Oxfordshire in 2007 and Northamptonshire and Cheshire in 2008. Staffordshire appeared in 2009, Somerset in 2010, Warwickshire in 2011, Herefordshire in 2012, Cambridgeshire & The Isle of Ely in 2013, and Hampshire in 2015. He is currently researching the architectural writer and Picturesque aficionado Christopher Hussey.


The Trustees meet about four times a year with additional meetings being held when necessary.

The Trustees are as follows:

  • Chair: Kay Ross
  • Treasurer: Prof. Selena Gray
  • Membership Secretary: Peter Hills
  • Editor of Newsletter: Kay Ross and Tim Mowl
  • Research and Recording: Gillian Clarke
  • Schools and Communities: Kay Ross, Selena Gray
  • Events: Peter Hills

Other Trustees:

  • David Evans
  • Anne Hills


  • Editor of Journal: Barbara Hardy

The Trustees decide policy, set the budget and oversees the appointment of officers and sub-committee chairmen as required. All sub-committees report to and are accountable to the Trustees. A number of specialists are available to advise the Trustees on technical matters.

Minutes of recent meetings held by the Trustees may be viewed here (PDF)

Minutes of Recent Annual General meetings may be viewed here (PDF)

The Planning Sub-Committee meets as required. Comprising Trust members, the Chairman of this committee is a Trustee. It is augmented by others as required.

The role of the sub-committee is to consider and respond to those planning applications that could be detrimental to the historic landscape and to ensure that the overall conservation policy that has been agreed by the Trustees is implemented.

The Recording Working Group researches, records and updates all registered and unregistered sites across Avon. It meets as required and reports to the Trustees.

For Trustees claiming expenses for AGT work download the expenses form here