Assessing and developing a Spirit of Place document for your garden

Staff representing a range of 10 gardens attended this training day at the National Trust garden Nymans. Presentations and discussions focussed on the purpose and contents of plans such as conservation Management Plans, garden Management Plans, Statements of Significance and Spirit of Place documents. Stephen Herrington Head gardener at Nymans led a tour of Nymans explaining how the planing process, including Spirit of Place, had led to decision making at Nymans Gardens.

Spirit of place (or genius loci) refers to the unique, distinctive and cherished aspects of a place.  It is thus as much in the invisible weave of culture (stories, art, memories, beliefs, histories, etc.) as it is the tangible physical aspects of a place (monuments, rivers, woods, architectural style, pathways, views, and so on) or its interpersonal aspects (the presence of family, friends and kindred spirits).” ICOMOS, Quebec Declaration on the preservation of the spirit of place, October 2008.

Spirit of Place is at the heart of how people feel about and experience our properties and why they are relevant.  It captures what make a places special. This training day will look at how we identify the Spirit of Place and how it can be used to inform decisions about how your site is understood and managed – from planning events to marketing and what you choose to present to the visitor.

This event was relevant to all who wish to develop a greater understanding of their garden and how to feed this information into mission statements and management plans. Delegates had the opportunity to spend time developing a Spirit of Place for their site. The day included an introduction to Conservation management plans and Garden management plans: what are they, what do they do, and do you need one?

Places that make us – National Trust research report 2017

From the place of your earliest memory to a setting which invokes memories of a loved one, we all have places that are intensely meaningful to us. There are places where we feel calm or that provide us with space to think; places we feel a deep pull towards or that have a physical effect on us when we visit; places where we feel ‘at home’ or that make us feel complete.