JUDGES have visited Cricklade to determine whether the town deserves to be crowned the best of the best.

The town is one of only two finalists in England chosen to compete for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Champion of Champions 2011 award. Two judges, Martyn Hird and Jeff Bates, toured the town on Monday taking note of the community efforts.

Cricklade, which is up against Garstang in Lancashire, has previously won the South West regional award four times, the national title of Best Small Town in the UK in 2008 and only just missed out on winning it again in 2010.

Cricklade Bloomers, the voluntary group spearheading the town’s entry along with the town council, Wiltshire Council and other groups and individuals, have worked tirelessly to keep the town looking at its best.

Chairman of Cricklade Bloomers, Anita Barratt said showing the judges around was the culmination of years of effort.

She said: "We are all so proud of what our town has achieved. It’s not just about floral displays, the aim is also to engage with local communities to improve the environment we live in so it’s sustainable planting and landscaping through to the dealing with litter and graffiti.

"To win Champion of Champions would be a fabulous achievement as Cricklade is representing not only Wiltshire but the whole of the south of England. "

Cricklade will be competing with other high achievers for recognition in three areas - horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

The judge’s route included a visit to the Community Garden and the town’s famous National Nature Reserve, North Meadow, as well as the High Street and various residential areas.

The winner of the competition will be announced at a ceremony at St Andrews, Scotland, on September 25.