IT is where romance blossomed for Lord and Lady Leverhulme ­— and love was most certainly in the air for a couple taking a stroll through the magical Rivington Terraced Gardens on Valentine's Day.

A walk around the gardens for Rachel Collington, from Horwich, ended in a romantic wedding proposal by, her now fiancé, Andy Anson.

And Rachel surprised Andy with a special gift ­to mark their love — a 'piece' of the historic gardens created by Lord Leverhulme in the area where he courted Lady Leverhulme many years before.

The Bolton News: Lord  Lady Lever by kind permission of M D Smith (please use credit)

(Lord  Lady Lever by kind permission of M D Smith)

Rivington Heritage Trust is giving couples ­— and everyone else ­— a unique opportunity to sponsor a 10 sqm patch of land in its Squarea fundraising campaign to maintain the gardens for future generations to enjoy.

Rachel said: "Walking around Rivington and having a brew and butties near The Lawns has been a highlight of many walks, so when I heard about sponsoring a Squarea I thought it would be an ideal Valentine’s Day present for Andy.

"What I didn’t know was that on that very same day he planned to propose!

“We went for a walk from Victoria Road, up Foxholes Road, along George’s Lane past the Pike and down to The Lawns and whilst having our coffee Andy got down on one knee and proposed. I couldn’t have been happier and of course I said yes.”

The couple first met at a salsa dance class at the Conservative Club in Horwich in November 2018.

Rachel, who has lived in Horwich for the last 18 years, has enjoyed walking the hills and gardens ever since moving to the area. Last March, due to Covid-19, Andy, who lives in Middleton and Rachel were unable to see each other for a few months, although did keep in regular contact.

After lockdown restrictions were eased, they were allowed to meet for a socially distanced walk and finally, when couple bubbles were introduced, they were able to see each other properly again.

The Bolton News: BEAUTIFUL: Rivington by Vicky Naylon

(Rivington by Vicky Naylon) 

“Walking around the gardens and having a brew stop near The Lawns is one of our favourite things to do. Thank you Rivington Heritage Trust and all the volunteers who have made The Gardens such a beautiful place to visit and for many, like me and my fiancé, their ‘Happy Place’," said Rachel.

The Bolton News:

Richard Galloway, a director at Rivington Heritage Trust, says: “It’s lovely to hear a good news story in amidst these difficult times. The ‘Squarea’ certificates are proving to be a popular gift idea for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and all manner of special occasions and are helping us to raise the necessary funds to maintain The Gardens.”

Members of the public can sponsor a 10sq m virtual patch of land called a ‘Squarea’ in The Japanese Garden, The Italian Lake, The Dell, The Woodlands or The Lawns for just £20. Owners of each dedicated certificate also have their name added to an online roll call and can choose to support the area that is the setting for their treasured memories.

Visit to get involved.