Cramlington and Alnwick among the big winners at Northumbria in Bloom awards
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Best overall entry, best large town and winner of The Percy Boydell Award was Cramlington.
Judges praised efforts to make large areas of woodland accessible, creating new woodland at Northumberlandia and plans for a new dementia garden. They were also impressed by the planting of shrubs and perennials in blocks on roundabouts.
Alnwick retained the best town award, pipping Hexham, with judges noting how the ‘absence of litter and street weeds exemplifies the pride the community has for its town’.
Holywell won the best large village with judges praising the ‘exciting and colourful’ planting schemes.
And Christopher Mordue of Holywell in Bloom won a community champion award for his dedication to making the Seaton Valley area look the best it can be.
Otterburn wedding venue, Woodhill, won best large commercial premises.
Best pub went to Ord House Lounge and Bar in East Ord, Berwick, while The John Bull Inn won gold and John the Clerk in Cramlington won a silver gilt.
The Cookie Jar won the best hotel award with judges commenting on how ‘the restrained planting of this professionally designed garden with its limited colour palette beautifully compliments this one time convent’. The County Hotel in Hexham won a silver gilt.
East Ord Nature Group won the conservation award, while there was a gold for the Wydon Water Flood Defence Scheme in Hexham and Bullfield Community Orchard in Alnwick.
The Friends of Alnmouth Railway Station took the award for best bus, Metro or railway station with judges praising the ‘well organised and the very numerous large tubs lining the platforms’.
St Paul’s Court in Alnwick won a gold in the residential community category, while St James’s Allotments in Alnwick also took a gold in the allotments section.
In the best visitor attraction category, there were gold awards for The Alnwick Garden, Ord House Country Park and Northumberlandia.
Swansfield Park Primary School in Alnwick won a gold in the schools section.
The best park award went to Alexandra Park in Cramlington, with a silver for Hexham.
Manor Walks Shopping Centre in Cramlington won a silver gilt in the best town centre retail area category.
St Nicholas Church in Cramlington won a silver gilt in the religious establishment category.
Best sports ground went to Hexham Golf Club.
The competition, now in its 59th year, is all about encouraging local communities to improve their area through community gardening and sound environmental practises. It is part of the UK wide Britain in Bloom campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Robert Germany, chairman of Northumbria in Bloom said: “When people think of Northumbria in Bloom they often assume that it’s all about hanging baskets and the municipal flower displays on roundabouts.
"However the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This means that ‘in bloom’ communities tackle everything from litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour through to conservation, biodiversity and improving horticultural standards, and that’s not to mention the positive impact on health and well-being, sense of place, community spirit and civic pride.
"Many of our groups are also using Bloom to help to mitigate some of the effects of climate change through planet friendly gardening. It is wonderful to see all the excellent work that communities are doing to protect and enhance their local environments.
“These awards are all about recognising and celebrating this work and all that our communities have collectively achieved in enhancing the overall environment of the North East in 2023.”