RIVINGTON’S magical terrace gardens have been recognised as being among the top 10 best lost gardens in the country.

Hit BBC programme Countryfile has compiled a list of the nation’s best secret spots where nature has run wild — and placed Rivington’s special space at number seven on the list.

The terraced gardens were the brainchild of Bolton-born soap magnate Lord Leverhulme, who owned the land, and internationally renowned landscape architect Thomas Mawson, who was commissioned to design the area.

He is said to have regarded them as his finest creation.

The gardens have been open to the public since 1948 and 11 of the structures are now listed by English Heritage.

The Countryfile article describes the gardens, which were given to the people of Bolton by Lord Leverhulme in 1902 as “a remarkable place, still rich in atmosphere”.

It added: “These 45 acres of parkland crossed by paths that wind through exotic and native trees, past pools and waterfalls and derelict follies.”

The gardens require preserving and protecting and after previously securing £64,000 of initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a bid is currently being put together to apply for a £3.3 million grant, which is due to be submitted in February.

The project is being lead by the Rivington Heritage Trust and Groundwork Lancashire and Wigan.

Project manager Ben Williams said the recognition from Countryfile proves what a special place the gardens are.

He added: “Countryfile has talked about that remarkable atmosphere and it is that spirit I love, the semi-ruinous appearance, partly reclaimed by nature.

“It is great for the gardens to be recognised nationally — although it certainly takes the pressure on the bid team up a few notches.

“The lottery project is not about improving them, it is about protecting and sustaining them because we all know how special they are.”

“We have been doing a lot of research into the efforts Moorson and Lever went to in order to carve this fantastic place out of what was just a chunk of moorland, it is amazing.”

Bolton’s Cllr Christopher Peacock is on the board of the Rivington Heritage Trust and a regular visitor to the gardens.

He said: “The gardens are such a treasure for the people of Bolton and the surrounding areas, we should all be incredibly proud of them.

“This recognition from Countryfile is a great thing and just highlights what a magical place we have — I would suggest anyone who hasn’t been up in a while should visit soon, every time I go I find a new path or folly, it’s a new adventure every time.”

A summary of the plan is available by going to Rivington Heritage Trust’s website — rivingtonheritagetrust.co.uk.

Also, details of events and activities where people can come and find out more about the Gardens and the proposals will be put on this website and on Twitter — @RivingtonTG, and at facebook.com/RivingtonTG.

The trust will be hosting guided tours of the Terraced Gardens, where people can meet the project team and ask questions.