A Reflection on 30 years in practice

Last week, Landmark celebrated its 30th Birthday in style at Goldney Hall in Clifton.  Superb weather, plentiful prosecco and the company of colleagues and clients both past and present culminated in a wonderful evening of music, conversation and laughter. Yes, this year, The Landmark Practice marks its 30th year in environmental consultancy.


From humble beginnings of just three people, Nick and Bernice have crafted a successful business, now directly employing twenty two full time professional staff.  At the birthday party Nick reflected on that journey.

Key clients in the 1980s, like Bristol Water, the CEGB, Wessex Water, and Bristol City Council, helped the fledgling company to forge a track record in the then slightly offbeat new field of landscape design based on ecological principles. The Practice’s first competitive break came with the landscape design for Clerical Medical’s new national headquarters in Clevedon. Not only was it a resounding success for our clients but we also gained professional awards within the industry.

Another huge opportunity came in 1991with the sale of the Port of Bristol by Bristol City Council.  The new owners, the inspiring Bristol Port Company, took us on to advise on landscape and wildlife matters as they invested in the then “white elephant” of Royal Portbury Dock. Bristol Port today is one of the most successful in the UK, and also one of the greenest.

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The Landmark team expanded in the 1990s, with more landscape architects and ecologists and also environmental planners as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive came in to force.  We were now no longer a small local outfit, but keen and equipped to take on bigger challenges.

The arrival of the ‘noughties’ presented our environmental planners with some demanding EIA projects. Almost overnight we became experts in sea defences on the Scilly Isles, on water abstraction within AONBs, on business parks, new railways, large scale residential and commercial schemes and, of course, into the new century, on large wind turbines.

Landmark’s environmental planners worked with our clients to gain consents for every wind turbine that you see turning at Avonmouth. Based on this experience, we decided to bite the commercial bullet and in 2012 we recruited experienced development planners to set up the dedicated planning arm of the Practice.

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Looking at the Landmark team today, it is difficult to remember the early small office with three desks.  The landscape team now offers landscape design and landscape planning services.  The new architectural graphics team specialises in both computer and free-hand based drawings and illustrations.  We are very proud of how the ecology team has developed into the highly qualified, skilled and commercially aware unit that it is today.  The interdisciplinary mix is completed with the planning team of development and environmental planners.

Together, we all work to help our clients to bring forward development in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.

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So we hope that everyone that came along had an entertaining and reflective evening.  Thanks to all who donated to Water Aid, our charity for the evening, and thanks also to our valued clients for entrusting us with your commissions.  We never lose sight of the fact that you have a choice in where you invest your trust and your fees.

And what of the future? Well, we guarantee that we won’t be standing still.

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