Half of all parkland in the West Midlands has disappeared in the past 100 years and more is likely to go unless action is taken, the Government heritage watchdog has warned.
Land attached to stately homes previously used as parkland has been closed off, built on, or used as farm land since 1919, resulting in the region losing more parks than any other area of the country.
English Heritage said remaining parks, such as Sutton Park in Sutton Cold-field, were facing huge pressures from both the natural environment and from urban problems, such as anti-social behaviour.
Chris Smith, regional director of English Heritage, said he was working with Birmingham City Council, which has responsibility for the park, to ensure action was taken and it did not become a no-go area.
In a report, Heritage Counts: The State of England?s Historic Environment, heritage groups are calling on the Government to help alleviate pressures threatening the long term survival of rural heritage, including parklands and rural buildings.
In 1918 parkland covered four per cent of the West Midlands region, from medieval deer parks within the Royal hunting lands of Cannock Chase and Feckenham Forest to the former plantations of garden designers Brown and Repton.
By 1995, half of that parkland had been destroyed with just two per cent in existence today. Funding from agrienvironmental schemes has helped the restoration of a number of parks, with schemes active in 66 of the region?s 148 parks and gardens.
But Sutton Park is not eligible for funding because of its location in an urban surrounding.
Mr Smith said: ?There is a huge amount of pressure on Sutton Park because of where it is. It is countryside in an urban area and that means it requires management and resources for management.
?Sutton Park is not under the kind of dreadful pressure that Central Park in New York is but there are inappropriate things that go on as well as natural pressures such as gorse management.
?There is certainly a danger that the level of inappropriate behaviour and activity will stop people going. If people stop going there is a danger people stop caring,? he added.
Sutton Park is England?s largest urban park and is protected for its outstanding archaeological remains, including the remains of a Roman road.
Mr Smith said although it was not eligible due to its location, other park owners could apply for grants to help preserve their land under agri-environment schemes.
The schemes are designed to help farmers to protect the environment but are also relevant to protecting historic surroundings.
One example of this is Spetchley Park and Gardens in Worcester, where English Heritage has helped restoration. Mr Smith said: ?The biggest issue for us is that everyone values the countryside in some way or other and the large majority of assets are not designated.
?The vast majority are privately owned and it is important these people do maintain the historic environment, hopefully by persuasion, by helping people understand how important the rural landscape is.?