Northumberlandia wins international best landscape architecture prize


Northumberlandia has been voted the best landscape architecture project in the world, beating rivals from the Americas, mainland Europe, Asia, Arabia and Africa.

The giant sculpture designed by Charles Jencks in the shape of a reclining woman is billed as the north east's newest tourist landmark and is made from quarried stone.

The centrepiece of a new 19ha community park next to Cheviot Hill won the International Property Awards late last year to prompt its co-owner, property firm Banks Group, to name it Miss World.

The attraction is managed by the Land Trust charity with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Azure Charitable Enterprises. More than 100,000 people visited the site over the last year.

Blagdon Estate and Banks Group spent £3m on the project, taking two and a half years to build with 1.5m tonnes of carefully selected stone, clay and soil from Banks’ adjacent Shotton Surface Mine.

Work on a new visitor centre began in October after the trust secured £242,000 from the Banks Community Fund and Defra’s regional economy grant. It is due to open early in the new year.

International Property Awards are in their 20th year and celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the commercial and residential property industry.

Northumberlandia had already won both the regional and national awards for best landscape architecture in autumn to go head to head with rival projects across the globe.

This adds to other awards from the Royal Town Planners Institute, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Northumberlandia has also been shortlisted for three further planning awards to be announced in January 2014, said a spokeswoman.

Blagdon Estate chief executive Bob Downer said: "This project is now gaining recognition as a unique landscape and arts project as well as a gateway to the rest of Northumberland."

Banks Group communications manager Katie Perkin said: "Quality of design and construction and the cultural, community and tourism impact have been recognised by the awards and large number of visitors.

For more on Northumberlandia click here.

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