Borough in Bloom

Wigan in Bloom judging at  St Michael's Howe Bridge
Wigan in Bloom judging at St Michael's Howe Bridge

THE BOROUGH’S finest green spaces were scrutinised by the judges of Britain in Bloom as part of the borough’s first-ever bid for the national competition this week.

A two-strong team from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), who organise the competition, spent around four hours touring the best gardens, allotments, residential spaces and wildlife habitats the town has to offer.

Leigh was heavily featured on the 37-mile judging route, with the judges starting their visit to the town with a trip to the Rivington Avenue allotments in Golborne, which is frequently used by local schools and access groups, with many youngsters cultivating their own plots.

The tour then visited Pennington Flash, one of Leigh’s finest nature reserves with hundreds of acres of woodland, reeds and lakes providing homes for birds, insects and other creatures, before making the short trip to Pennington Hall Park, which recently won a Green Flag Award and is maintained by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT).

The horticultural experts from the RHS were then shown the Olympic Torch-themed display planters in the town centre before viewing the work of The Bridgers, a residents group based in Howe Bridge whose projects include planting a flower display outside the local sports centre, transforming neglected areas into community green spaces and building an outdoor stage and lawn at the Scout headquarters.

The borough was invited to represent the North West in the prestigious competition after winning a Gold medal in last year’s regional In Bloom contest.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Guernsey in October.