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Located only 30 minutes away from our stunning Piran Meadows Resort & Spa, in the heart of the Cornish countryside the beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan is a must see for all ages. Steeped in the local history this 200 acre estate has a fascinating story through the ages, with magical woodlands to offer, exotic flowers that have been planted on the grounds centuries ago.
The breath taking gardens have something to offer everyone, read on to find out more…
The gardens were purchased by the Tremayne family in 1569, and the current owners are decedents of the same family, meaning that it has been a part of the family for over 400 years.The current owners have meticulously researched the history and have created a wonderful timeline of the estate. They found that the outbreak of World War I was actually the start of the demise of the estate as most of the workers were deployed to fight the war, and many sadly never returned.
The gardens were sold in the 1970s with Heligan house sold and split into private apartments. After decades of neglect a devastating hurricane in 1990 resulted in the gardens almost being lost to history. The romance of its history took hold of the owners imagination and they set about restoring the gardens and house to its former glory. They then discovered a tiny room in the corner of one the walled gardens, the historic Thunderbox Room, and etched into the limestone above the door was the motto “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”, along with the names of gardeners who have signed. It was dated August 1914 – a true message from history that could have been lost in the rubble if not for the passion and keen eye of the wonderful owners. It sparked their interest and pushed them to make the gardens the best they could.
Having different styles of Gardens gives you a choice of where you want to visit, the Productive gardens are a living window into the past. The restoration of the Victorian Productive Garden is award winning and acts as a living memorial to the Lost Gardens, see how they used to work.
Visit Cornwall’s only outdoor Jungle, it plays host to luxuriant foliage, outstanding trees and exotic plantings, and inspiring views from one of the longest Burmese Rope Bridges in Britain. You will get a totally different perspective from the bridge while adventuring through the tropical gardens, marvel at the giant rubarb plants, the stunning banana plantations and magical ponds.
Visit the Giants Woodland Adventure, the ancient woodland pathways were initially created 200 years ago, with many of the flora coming from this time period too. You can discover the iconic sculptures like the Giant’s Head, the Mud Maid and the Grey Lady, see the path come to life as these woodland sculptures show themselves out of the beautiful natural landscape. The Lost Valley offers enchanting ponds and exquisite wildflowers, and the floor is carpeted with Bluebells during the spring time, don’t miss out on the Charcoal Sculpture made by James Eddy, depicting growth and decay.
The Pleasure Grounds offer unusual range of romantic structures and unexpected features, all linked by a network of historic pathways, the beautiful trees and flora that line the paths will take your breath away. Also look out for the fascinating Witches Broom here, a dark green growth from the ancient Douglas’ trunk, a genetic mutation that is extraordinarily popular amongst bonsai enthusiast and of course witches.
There is an abundance of wildlife, see the magical Barn Owls, catch a glimpse of the fascinating Badgers and take a peak at the insect hotel and the honeybee observation hive. Make sure that you go and meet Diggory, the selfie-loving resident scarecrow! Don’t forget to visit the farm and see the cute Tamworth pigs and piglets, as well as the stunning sheep being reared on site too, everyone loves farm animals!
So why not drop into The Lost Gardens of Heligan and visit a piece of history that we almost lost. The beautiful scenery, stunning wildlife and fantastic sculptures will have you returning time and again.
Happy Adventuring Green Fingered Guys and Dolls!