'Forgotten gem' Bury Mount wins heritage award
Renovation work on a Northamptonshire monument has beaten Westminster Abbey to win a national award.
Bury Mount and the nearby Water Meadows park, in Towcester, won the restoration category at the Museums and Heritage Awards 2011.
A restoration project at Westminster Abbey took second place.
Originally, Bury Mount was the site of a 12th Century castle but the building had disappeared and the site had been neglected.
The renovations have stabilised the ancient monument, creating new access via a ramp and stairway, and adding seating.
A historic timeline was also installed along a circular path, showing key dates in Towcester's history and helping to make it an appealing public space.
Neighbouring Water Meadows, a Grade II registered historic park, was also restored for the local community and re-opened in April 2010.
The renovations were part of a scheme called the Moat Lane project, led by South Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire County Council and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC).
The Moat Lane development will include new shops, offices, a new hotel and library in Towcester town centre.
Chris Garden, WNDC director of regeneration and development said: "It wasn't that long ago that Bury Mount and the Water Meadows were inaccessible, forgotten gems.
"After a significant amount of investment, it is satisfying to see them being enjoyed by local people."