'Forgotten gem' Bury Mount wins heritage award

Restored Bury Mount Bury Mount was originally part of Towcester's medieval defences

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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.

Renovated Water Meadows park Bat boxes were installed at Water Meadows as part of the restoration project

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."

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