The team at Woburn Abbey Gardens were overjoyed last night after receiving a highly sought after award. Their restoration of the Humphry Repton landscape, originally created in the early 1800’s, won the Best Restoration of a Georgian Garden category at the Georgian Group Architectural Awards, beating entries from The Crown Estates for their restoration in Windsor Great Park and Ted Coryton for the Sir James Tillie Mausoleum at Pentillie Castle, Cornwall.
The Georgian Group Architectural Awards, sponsored by Savills, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects across the UK, and the 2013 awards received over 70 impressive entries. The group aims to reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. 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.
Woburn Abbey Gardens has changed significantly over the centuries, influenced by events affecting the family, the estate and the country as a whole. The beautiful landscape designed by Humphry Repton in the early 1800s fell into disrepair as low maintenance options were needed during the first and second World Wars. Since 2004, the current Woburn Abbey Gardens Team, under the direction of The Duchess of Bedford and Martin Towsey, has undertaken a restoration project to recreate Woburn Abbey Gardens based on Humphry Repton's original designs.
Martin Towsey, Estates Gardens Manager at Woburn, was extremely pleased to receive the award: “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.”
The restoration project is part of a 25 year development plan for the gardens, with the recreated Cone House structure and stunning Rockery Pavilion opened to the public during 2013. Visitors to Woburn Abbey Gardens return again and again to see the new features and 2014 will see the addition of a beautiful stone facade to the Cone House, as well as the installation of a Green Oak walkway.
If you want to find out more about the Landscape Gardener behind the original garden plans, then join us for our Humphry Repton Study Day on the 20th November.
Woburn Abbey Gardens is open to visitors every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the winter period and will be open daily from the 11th April 2014. Please see the opening times.
You can also see the award winning landscape illuminated after dark at the Luminaries Woburnensis event on the 7th December.