A RIPON beauty spot has won a top European conservation prize - presented by an opera superstar.
Hackfall Woods in Grewelthorpe won the Grand Prix for conservation at the European Union Prize Cultural Heritage Europa Nostra Awards.
The Hackfall team travelled to Amsterdam for the awards ceremony in Amsterdam after hearing they had made it into the final 27, where they went forward into a run-off for the big prize.
They were delighted to find they had won the prestigious “Grand Prix” and were presented with their €10,000 Euro prize by opera singer Plácido Domingo, one the world famous “Three Tenors” and president of Europa Nostra.
Heather Swift from the Woodland Trust accepted the award for Hackfall.
“To be recognised with the initial award was one thing, but to then be selected as one of the six Grand Prix winners was something none of us were expecting!
“It’s great to receive acknowledgement of all our hard work on a European stage,” she said.
The awards are the “Oscars” of the conservation world and the Woodland Trust’s site was one of only six places in Europe to be recognised at this year’s cultural heritage awards, out of 27 nominees.
The jury said it was captivated by the authenticity of the restoration of the ruined buildings, and the garden’s poetic connection with nature.
Hackfall has recently undergone a massive £1million restoration which sees the 18th Century pleasure gardens restored to their former glory. They were created by John and William Aislabie, the men behind the landscaping of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.