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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Garden of England title defended
White Gardens at Sissinghurst
The county council said gardens at Sissinghurst are "outstanding"
Kent's status as the Garden of England has been defended after a TV poll said North Yorkshire was more beautiful.

"Kent has the track record to maintain the title," said Paul Carter, the leader of the county council.

A survey of beautiful counties by the UKTV Style Gardens channel put Kent in fifth place, behind North Yorkshire, Devon, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire.

Commuting into London, Channel Tunnel train lines and "chavs" were blamed for the county's supposed decline.

'Outstanding gardens'

Kent is widely known as the Garden of England.

"In some ways the survey is a bit of fun," said Mr Carter.

"But on the serious side, the government's drive to build more and more houses in the South East is a major challenge and probably responsible for some of the vote.

"We are striving very hard to make Kent an even greater place to live and work."

The council claimed residents of Kent have "very high satisfaction levels" about living in the county.

Mr Carter added: "70% of the county is still agricultural land and we have outstanding gardens like Sissinghurst and the 'most beautiful castle in the world' at Leeds."

Counties were ranked according to their countryside, villages and wildlife, from a shortlist drawn up by gardening experts including TV personalities Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh.


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