A POPULAR Hereford public space has received a new, bespoke set of replacement gates as part of its restoration.

The Blackfriars Rose Gardens in Widemarsh Street, has had its new entrance created and restored.

The historic site is bordered by the picturesque ruins of part of the former Dominican Blackfriars Priory, dating from 1319.

It is adjacent to the Coningsby Hospital and Museum, whose almshouses, built in 1613, are still occupied.

The gates were formally declared open today by Dame Kate Bingham.

She said: "Hereford is a beautiful place, and finding an even more beautiful place in this great city is a real treat."

The new bespoke gates are the result of a design competition sponsored by Herefordshire and Ludlow College, The Friends of Blackfriars Rose Gardens, and The Arts Society Hereford.

The winner was Joe Shevelan, who is a student at Herefordshire and Ludlow College’s Rural Crafts Centre at the Holme Lacy Campus, home to the National School of Blacksmithing.

In 2022, he took part in the Ferrous Festival in Hereford’s High Town, demonstrating and teaching the art of blacksmithing.

He was awarded £300 in prize money from the Friends of Blackfriars Gardens, together with The Arts Society Young Arts Award.

The gates were made by experienced Herefordshire master blacksmith, Peter Downey and installed by E C Joseph and Sons of Hereford.

Anne Harbour, member of The Arts Society Hereford and instigator of the parks and gardens volunteering initiative said: "The gates are a piece of public art that will attract the attention of tourists and Herefordians alike to this beautiful and peaceful green space in the heart of Hereford."

Jesse Norman MP attended the opening and said: "Hats off to Anne and everyone involved with rejuvinating this amazing space. 

"All the work that has been put in by all the volunteers is incredibly inspiring."