Landscape award finalists named

Nine English landscapes judged world-class have gone forward to a nationwide awards event, with the winner looking for a place in a European final.

That winner, to be chosen in November, will become the UK's entry in the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe final next year. Community groups, local authorities, charities and non-government groups from each English region entered landscapes for the award, judged by the Landscape Institute.

The winners were River Nene Regional Park in the east Midlands and Trinity Broads restoration in the east of England. Thames Landscape Strategy was singled out for London and Durham Heritage Coast for the North East.

The Mersey Basin Campaign came top in the North West and Blackwater Valley won in the South East. The Neroche scheme in the South West will vie with Shropshire's Striperstones for the West Midlands crown, while Sheffield's Gold Route could steal the show for Yorkshire and Humberside.

Landscape Institute president Jo Watkins said: "These awards highlight the contribution great urban and rural landscapes make to the creation of strong communities. They recognise that looking after our landscape is a responsibility shared by all of us."

Sheffield's Gold Route links squares, gardens and tree-lined public realm defined by fountains, stepped landscapes and posh paving to give a strong European vibe.

The European Landscape Convention, which promotes open spaces, launched the Council of Europe landscape award to recognise good landscape management.

Countries run national competitions to identify winners, which are then put forward for the European-level award. This is the first time the award has been run in the UK.

The overall winner will be announced on 8 November at the European Landscape Convention conference in Liverpool and go forward to a final in March 2011.

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