Quite some time ago (although I’m not sure how) I heard about The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I read about them, saw photos etc and longed to go and visit. But I couldn’t for various reasons, one of which was a large black dog. It’s difficult to find places to stay when you’ve got a dog and a lot of ‘dog friendly’ places aren’t really. So all I could do was read about the project and dream.
So when the caravan came along I was pretty quick to book up a site close to Heligan (which is also close to The Eden Project another place I’ve wanted to visit for years). My mam was coming with me which I knew would mean I couldn’t explore as much as I’d like, but it’s not her fault that her health means she can’t walk more than about 50 yards at a time. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be with us so any time we can spend together is precious.
Yeash, I was like a little kiddy in a sweety shop when we first arrived. It took a supreme effort of will to calmly get the wheelchair sorted and stand patiently while the staff explained which areas were wheelchair accessible on the map. Then we were in!
I’ve seen lots of photographs of Heligan and most have concentrated on the horticultural side. So I thought I’d share some of the other shots I took with you.
For those of you who don’t know, The Lost Gardens of Heligan is a restoration of the gardens of an old country estate. Like so many they were left to grow wild after the collapse of that way of life (caused by the world wars of the last century), but this gem was ‘rediscovered’. I’ve read Tim Smit’s book on it many times and one of the things he talks about is a feeling of one day everyone just left work and didn’t come back. Obviously that is no longer the case as this is now one of the most visited gardens in England, but they’ve worked hard to leave little touches hinting at it’s past. Such as this little pot of flowers which you can glimpse through an old window frame.
I was enchanted by this well cover. Now-a-days it would just be covered by a plain grating… but here was a beautiful ornate design. I also loved that they had not cleaned all the algae / moss / whatever that green stuff is off.
Inside one of the buildings (from memory I think it was the head gardeners office) I spotted this boiler. I’m fairly sure I remember reading about it in Tim Smits book but I’ve not had a chance to go back and check the details. The inside of the buildings were left dark, or with only sparse lighting, no doubt to help with the ‘lost’ mood. It might have helped with the mood but it made taking this shot rather hard. I ended up leaning over the sturdy wooden banisters and looking down into the pit. Normally a shot like that you’d immediately reach for a tripod but I couldn’t, so this is handheld. I was fascinated by this boiler and would have spent a lot longer looking at it (and trying to photograph it) but I was conscious that my mam was sat outside in the wheelchair.
I loved the sense of homeliness and waiting in this room which was formerly the Head Gardeners Office…. Yes Libby I did think of you when I walked in there.
Finally I found this near the entrance. It seemed so odd to travel all that way and wander round only to find a echo of home. Ipswich is very close to where I live, so how could I resist another quick photo.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day wandering round this wonderful place. What was even better was after having read so much about it and bought in the ideals behind it, I was disappointed (and they do a very nice cheese scone as well hehe).