Garden Awards and Accolades
Excellence is one of our five core values at Woburn Abbey Gardens. We strive to develop the gardens to the highest possible standard, and in recent years have received a number of accolades and awards that reflect this commitment. In 2011 we achieved our ambition of becoming an RHS Partner Garden; in 2012 we won the Hudson's Heritage Award for New Commission; and in 2013 we received the Georgian Group Architectural Award for Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape.
RHS Partner Garden
In 2011, Woburn Abbey Gardens was awarded RHS Partner Garden Status - a target that we had set ourself in our five year plan, but managed to achieve 3 years early. Partner Gardens are not owned by the RHS, but recognised by them for the inspiration that they offer to keen gardeners through their high standards of design and planting.
More information on RHS Partner Gardens, including details of the free entry scheme for RHS members, can be found on the RHS website.
Hudson's Heritage Award for New Commission
The striking Chinese-style pavilion was originally designed by the landscape gardener, Humphry Repton, in the early 1800s. However, it took until the 21st Century for it to be constructed on top of the attractive rockery in the gardens.
In 1802, the 6th Duke commissioned Repton to design enhancements for the gardens and deer park. Together, the rockery and pavilion were part of Repton’s plan for formal ‘Pleasure Grounds’, illustrated in his Red Book (1805) of designs and ideas. Woburn Abbey has the greatest number of realised plans by Repton in the UK, but until 2011 the rockery had stood uncompleted.
In 2009, the Gardens team began restoring the rockery, which had suffered badly from weather over the years and was overgrown with trees. In 2011, F Martin Ltd were commissioned to build the pavilion. Together with the Abbey Gardens team they constructed it on top of the rockery. It took four weeks to build and a week to construct on site.
The entire project was successfully completed and officially opened by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show in 2012. Later that year the project was nominated for, and subsequently won, the 'New Commission' category of the '2012 Hudson’s Heritage Awards'.
The Georgian Group Architectural Awards
In October 2013, Woburn Abbey Gardens proudly received another highly sought after award. Our project to restore the 19th Century Humphry Repton landscape won the 'Best Restoration of a Georgian Garden' category at the 'Georgian Group Architectural Awards'.
These awards recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects across the UK, and the 2013 awards received over 70 impressive entries. The Georgian Group aim to reward organisations and individuals who show vision and commitment to restoring buildings and landscapes from the Georgian period. The award was presented to Martin Towsey, Estates Gardens Manager, and Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford, by The Marquess of Salisbury at the award ceremony held at Christie’s in London on the 29th October.
Martin Towsey, Estates Gardens Manager, was extremely pleased: “It is a great honour for the Gardens and the gardeners to receive such an accolade. Heritage and excellence are two of our core values, so winning this award recognises the vision and effort that the team has put into the gardens.”