The Land of the Fanns Community Action Fund enables Essex Gardens Trust to extend work in Thurrock with a fascinating research project.

The Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme is working with Essex Gardens Trust on a new project to record the many precious green spaces across Thurrock. 

Essex Garden Trust was successful in applying through the Land of the Fanns Community Action Fund to fund a project in Thurrock called Unforgettable Gardens. This project builds on the work done by volunteers on the Land of the Fanns Know it Love it project whorecently completed the 50 Fabulous Features report detailing 50 historically significant features in the landscape across the Land of the Fanns.

The five-year Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme’s aim is to inspire people to discover and explore their local landscape, strengthening attachment to the land and enhancing enjoyment of it, by revealing the heritage and natural beauty all around. Spreading over east London and south west Essex, the Land of the Fanns is a fascinating and diverse landscape full of historic and environmental hidden gems such as the many green spaces which have a history now forgotten and overlooked. 

Unforgettable Gardens’ focus is the garden heritage of Thurrock. It offers new opportunities for more volunteers to join the research team and become detectives uncovering and highlighting the treasures in the local landscape, many of which are in danger of being overlooked.  Everyone is welcome to become involved.  Someexperience in research would be helpful, but guidance and mentoring are offered to all the team; existing skills can be strengthened and new skills learned.  As with the research done for the 50 Fabulous Features report, work on the project can continue despite current restrictions.

Gardens is a broad term which can include cemeteries, public parks, allotments and amenity gardens with significant heritage value, as well as substantial and historically valuable private gardens. All these reflect the development of the Thurrock area.  

The project will produce an inventory which will provide a detailed understanding of Thurrock’s garden past. It builds on, and follows the model of previous Essex Gardens Trust District Inventories which are based on Historic England’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, established in 1983. Other Essex inventories can be found

The project gets its name because it is Essex Gardens Trust’s ‘contribution’ to the Gardens Trust’s collaborative Unforgettable Gardens theme 2020-23, information on which can be found at

As with the 50 Fabulous Features report, once the Inventory has beencompleted it will be kept by the District Council Conservation & Planning department and other relevant local authorities to support their work in protecting important sites.  The Inventory will also be freely available to the public via the Essex Records Office as well as on the Essex Gardens Trust website

 Benjamin Sanderson, Land of the Fanns Scheme Manager, said:“The work of the volunteers involved in the Know it Love it and 50 Fabulous Features projects has been amazing. This will provide another great opportunity to get involved in recording, protecting and celebrating local heritage.”

Patricia Sinclair, Chair, Essex Gardens Trust said “Over recent months, we’ve learned that we need our heritage of local green spaces. Join us in researching and recording these fragile gardens and landscapes and help to save them for the future.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project should contact Patricia Sinclair by emailing at

To find out more about the Land of the Fanns and how you can get involved in environmental and heritage projects, please go to

There are ten strategic partners involved in the in the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme: Thames Chase Trust (lead partner) Essex County Council, Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, Brentwood Borough Council, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Thames21,Thurrock Council and Museum of London Archaeology. 

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