National garden award for Cornwall's Heligan Gardens

Heligan's Lost Valley The Lost Gardens of Heligan were rediscovered 21 years ago

Cornwall's Lost Gardens of Heligan have been named as Britain's Finest Garden.

Readers of the BBC's Countryfile magazine voted for the attraction near Mevagissey in mid-Cornwall.

The award comes as the collection of gardens celebrates 21 years since being re-discovered.

The awards were launched in April and feature 10 categories, from conservation projects and food heroes to country writers and finest nature reserves.

Peter Stafford, managing director of The Lost Gardens of Heligan, said: "We are both delighted and honoured to receive this award from such a prestigious magazine. It represents such an excellent recognition for all the input that our staff have contributed over the years."

Recently the Gardens featured in a special edition of Natural World: Secrets of the Lost Gardens on BBC2.

Team tribute

Lorna Tremayne, design and marketing manager, said: "Heligan is experiencing a fantastic year. We are celebrating our 21st anniversary, last week's BBC2 show, achieved much public acclaim and now we have won this prestigious award.

"It's a tribute to the team here at Heligan and what they achieve every day."

Before World War I the garden required the services of 22 gardeners to maintain it.

The house on the site was used by the US Army during World War II, and then converted into flats and sold, without the gardens, in the 1970s.

During this time the gardens fell into a serious state of neglect. In 1990 the derelict gardens were rediscovered by Tim Smit and John Willis, a Tremayne descendant, who started the restoration work.

They opened to the public in 1991.

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