THEY date back more than 1,000 years, and they are still taking pride of place.

Abingdon's Abbey Gardens have been recognised for a ninth year in a row with the national Green Flag Award.

The award aims to recognise public spaces with the highest possible environmental standards, that are beautifully maintained and have excellent visitor facilities.

Abbey Gardens, owned and maintained by Vale of White Horse District Council, provide a quiet retreat near Abingdon town centre just a short walk from the River Thames.

The historic site, once home to the seventh century Abingdon Abbey, now includes a formal garden area with flower beds, herbaceous borders, seating and Italian walkway.

The council's cabinet member for parks, Charlotte Dickson, said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for a ninth year.

"We know how much quality green spaces matter to our residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that our parks team put into maintaining Abbey Gardens to such a high standard."

Wallingford's Castle Meadows also retained their Green Flag this year, for a 10th year in a row.

Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd added: "Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.

"The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people."