AN award-winning gardener has been praised for transforming a public footpath at the back of his house.

The path from the Hagfold Estate to North Road in Atherton was an eyesore tainted by overgrown grass, weeds and overhanging bushes before David Derbyshire put his green-fingered skills to work last summer.

The 52-year-old has been working on the path independently ever since and it is now being hailed as one of the most visually appealing walkways in the borough.

The dad-of-two, of Oxford Road, who has used tree branches to line parts of the path, said: “At first I did it for myself because I enjoy gardening so much.

“It has been a big task and has taken a lot of hard work – there were three skips of rubbish filled after getting rid of the bushes.

“I get lots of nice compliments from people walking past, with them saying the path is now more open and safer for people."

Debra Dawson, who walks along the path regularly, said: “David has worked wonders and it is amazing what he has done on his own.

“It is a lovely place to walk through now rather than the mess which was there before.”

David has been gardening for 10 years and has won a collection of accolades for his green-fingered skills.

He has transformed his garden into a work of art containing two playhouse cottages for his 14 grandchildren to play in.

The whole wonderland garden is made from recycled materials such as sandstone and trees.

The garden won him a Wigan and Leigh Housing Better Neighbourhood Awards Area gong in 2011 and a silver medal last year.

His work in his garden, allotment and on the path has led to requests for him to do gardening work for other people.

David, who lives with his partner Michaela, said: “I have not done much planning for any of the gardening work I have done.

“It just seems to come natural to me.

“I love it and I am going to do it for the rest of my life."