Kirkstall Abbey shortlisted for BBC heritage award

Caption: The magnificent Kirkstall Abbey has been shortlisted for a heritage award.

A historic Leeds abbey is in the frame for a heritage award from a popular BBC programme magazine.

Dating back to the 12th century, the ancient Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have been shortlisted in the 'Britain’s favourite heritage site' category of the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2013.

Selected by Countryfile presenter John Craven who was born in Leeds, the abbey, which sits spectacularly along the banks of the River Aire and is the home to a number of popular events including Classical Fantasia, will battle it out with nine other nominees to claim the award, which will be chosen by members of the public.

Full details on how to vote can be found on the programme’s website at www.countryfile.com/awardsvote. Votes can also be sent via email to awards@countryfile.com.

With voting closing later this month on September 30, lovers of the abbey are being urged to register their support as soon as possible.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"It really is fantastic news that the stunning Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey have been nominated for this heritage award.

"The historic feel and atmosphere of the abbey really are unique, and I would urge anyone who has yet to experience the surroundings to pay a visit so they can find out why it is such a special location.

"The eventual winner will be chosen by the public, and with the deadline fast approaching, I would ask anyone who shares our love of the abbey to register their vote as soon as possible."

John Craven, Countryfile presenter, speaking on the shortlisting of Kirkstall Abbey said:

"My first heritage site – I was brought up a couple of miles away and often went here as a child.

"One of Yorkshire’s great Cistercian ruins, it stands on the banks of the River Aire just three miles from the centre of Leeds – a quiet refuge amid suburbia."

Notes to editors:

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. Founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks, Kirkstall was a religious centre in Yorkshire until 1539 when it was closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Visitors can explore the abbey ruins to discover where the monks worked, lived and prayed over 800 years ago, from the majesty of the church to the peace of the cloisters.

The Visitor Centre is home to displays about the abbey, kid’s dressing up and a new shop selling unique bespoke products. Entrance to Kirkstall Abbey is Free. There are regular events at the abbey throughout the year, from Muddy Monkeys for the under 5s every Tuesday to Classical Fantasia which takes place this Saturday.

The BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards are a celebration of the countryside and its people. The 2013 awards were launched in the August issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine, and feature 10 categories, from conservation projects and best heritage site to countryside writers and our finest nature reserves.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk