A CAMPAIGN group dedicated to conserve a historic parkland have had their work praised by the Mayor of Darlington after an event at the town hall.

Councillor Nick Wallis described the Parkland Heritage Network’s efforts to protect the historic Georgian parkland around the Blackwell Grange Hotel as “tireless” after hosting a reception for the group at the Mayor’s Parlour.

The visit follows the network celebrating an agreement by Darlington Borough Council this summer to abandon plans to build homes on the area.

In July, the authority’s leader Councillor Heather Scott said the volume and strength of historical and environmental information put forward by the Parkland Heritage Network had highlighted the importance of protecting the area, which has been dubbed “the last of Darlington’s Georgian Pleasure Grounds”.

The document also revealed how the parkland had been based on designs by 18th century landscape architect Capability Brown and still had ridge and furrow features, indicating how it was farmed in the Middle Ages.

Of the Historic Parkland Network members attending the reception, each had a different inspiration for preserving the parkland, ecological, environmental, historical and were instrumental in supporting the group’s leaders Angela and Michael Green in writing the study.

After taking members of the heritage network, which includes junior members of Darlington Harriers, who train regularly in the parkland, on a tour of the Council Chamber, Cllr Wallis said the group was “a first-class example of local people being passionate about something in their community”.

He added: “It was good to hear how the parkland has affected them in different ways. They have sown what an important piece of Georgian landscape it is – a lot has been discovered and more will be in the future.”

Cllr Wallis said groups interested in visit the Mayor’s Parlour and learning about civic affairs could email democratic@darlington.gov.uk for further details.