Do fairy tales really exist? In the terms of magical kingdoms the Lost Garden of Heligan could be a true representation of the famous Sleeping Beauty Lands. After decades of neglect following the hurricane hit in 1990 the Gardens of Heligan became swamped and choked in bramble and ivy, leaving the lands forgotten over time.

Image Credits: Ennor 

After its discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen stonework in the corner of one walled garden, became the key to unlocking the secrets of the land. Etched into the limestone walls in barely readable writing still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber – 1914” with the names of those who worked there signed underneath. An obsession was fed – one to bring these once glorious gardens back to life and to tell the stories of the ordinary people who made it all possible from the beginning. And just like the lands of sleeping beauty, with its once tired walls and halted plants, the Lost Gardens of Heligan has been transformed into its original stunning landscape that teems with a new beginning.

Image Credits: Benjamin Vander Steen

The Lost Gardens of Heligan is unique to its restoration – returning back to the times of its meticulous disciplines and traditions of the past across its late Victorian form. The estate boundaries encompass 200 acres of unique landscapes, enabling excited visitors to ramble through pasture, ancient woodlands, and micro-exotic habitats to admire livestock species and extremely elegant flower specimens.

The Jungle Valley

The unique outdoor Jungle Valley offers an 8 acre exotic experience that would appear to be constructed in a dream. With its own micro-climate, exotic large plants bloom above your heads and the sound of crackling bamboo excites your ears. It’s like stepping into another world.

 Image Credits: Emma Websdale

The Lost Valley

The LostValley is just as wondrous, offering a calm safe place to deers, otters and kingfishers to lay their residency. The passion for wildlife at Heligan shines brightly with their Wildlife Projects and close links to DEFRA for protecting vulnerable species.

Image Credits: Ennor 

Mud Sculptures

The epic blow of the storm which hit the gardens in 1990 left the remaining roots of many trees on show. Rather than dispossing of these roots, local artists felt inspired to use the roots as an opportunity to create something new. Sue Hill and Pete Hill therefore cleverly plastered local clay over the largest turned over root-ball, binding the roots together into the shape of a giants head. The nose and skin was then layered on top and was completed with broken china and class to construct the eyes. Wild crocosima was chosen for the hair, which shoots fresh each spring, followed by a fiery tall orange blaze in the autumn. This new creation became the iconic symbol for the restoration of the Heligan.

Image Credits: Ennor 

Trekking further along the Woodland Walk, the Mud Maid appears, she is eccentric and magical. Lying peacefully in the ground, her life was also given by Sue and Pete Hill. Whatever the time of year she always looks stunning. In spring she baths in pools of Bluebells and in winter she is blanketed by snow.

Image Credits: Emma Websdale

 Image Credits: Ennor

The gardens have been such an inspiration, that it was these gardens alone that gave birth to the Eden Project – the largest green house in the world. There Tim Smit sat surrounded by the beauty of Heligan and the concept and drive for the Eden project began.

Image Credits:  Emma Websdale

The Garden of Heligan now focuses much work on protecting nature and enhancing the spoilt choice of habitats. The award-winning garden restoration is internationally acclaimed, and there is one thing for certain about these gardens – they are like no other that is open to the public.

Image Credits: Ennor

“Heligan is so much more than just a garden – it is a place in the soul” – Tim Smit 

Both the Eden Project and Loss Gardens of Haligan can be visited in Cornwall in the UK. For further information on prices, visiting times and features their websites are below:

http://www.heligan.com/

http://www.edenproject.com/