I always have to stop and think about the name of these gardens. I’m dyslexic and get things mixed up sometimes so the first name that comes into my mind is the Hanging Gardens of, no wait, that’s not right. In any case, this is a lovely spot to spend the day. It’s wonderful to see how much they have reclaimed since 1990 when the lost gardens were discovered by Tim Smit and John Willis, a descendant of the Tremayne family, the original owners of the house and gardens. The gardens got “lost” after the house and gardens were separated in the 70s and the house was turned into flats.
We had been to the “Eden Project”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review?id=191130 the day before and received 10% off vouchers which we were able to use at the “Lost Gardens of Heligan”:https://www.heligan.com/. The first task was a photo op for the Silver Travel Advisor bag with a GR “post box”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/forums/travel-places/1225-silver-travel-advisor-bags-day-out#post_82299 near the ticket office. We struck out on the Woodland Walk which is very peaceful with the lovely trees. It took us past the Giant’s Head, the Mud Maid and The Grey Lady – features that most people associate with the gardens. There is a definite fairy tale quality as you walk up to them along the path with bluebells scattered among the trees and glimpses of rolling fields in the distance. There are some steep parts to the path and one of my aunts was having difficulties with her back and legs so we tried to avoid as many steep sections as possible. Having said that, the paths were no steeper, and in fact, less so, than many roads we had walked in villages around Cornwall earlier in the week.
We continued on from the Woodland Walk to the Georgian Ride along the west lawn, past the bee hives, the insect hotel and a couple of Tamworth pigs then veered to the left onto the Butler’s Path. Here we were assaulted by the smell of wild garlic. Then we went thru the Jungle and across the Burma rope bridge. There was no queue so we were able to go across right away and at our leisure. From the bridge you get great views across the ponds of the colourful rhododendrons and see amazing reflections of the palms and other trees in the ponds. The Fern Gully was also very peaceful. From here we turned right and went up the east lawn and headed to the Steward’s House Café for lunch. We took sandwiches and delicious cakes out into the garden and enjoyed our food at a picnic table overlooking the fields.
After lunch an aunt and I headed to the wildlife hide to do some bird watching. We saw a woodpecker, coal tits, green finch and pheasants. There are pictures in the hide to help you identify the birds you see and a list on a blackboard keeping track of the wildlife that have been sighted from the hide.
My uncle and other aunt headed to the paddocks and barn to see the animals and the wood turning display by John Fells making products from Heligan timber: great little tops that spin on their heads then stand on their stalk and keep spinning. They also make charcoal in their own kilns.
The next stop was the Gardens where you can see the greenhouses, the Kitchen Garden, the Flower Gardens and the Italian and Sundial gardens to name a few. In one of the buildings I discovered the thunderbox room which was dedicated by the Imperial War Museum in 2013 as ‘a living memorial’ to the ‘gardeners of Heligan House’ who were killed in WW1 – a nice tribute to the workers who took care of these gardens back then.