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The Lost Gardens of Heligan


St Austell
miles from Ancarva
01726 845100

Rediscovering Paradise: The Enchanting Lost Gardens of Heligan

Nestled on the picturesque hills of Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan stand as a testament to the enduring beauty of nature and the resilience of the human spirit. Once lost to the ravages of time, these historic gardens have been lovingly restored to their former glory, captivating visitors with their enchanting landscapes, diverse flora, and the intriguing story that unfolds with every step. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the magical realm of the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

A Historic Tale of Rediscovery:

The story of Heligan's restoration is as captivating as the gardens themselves. Abandoned and forgotten after the devastation of World War I, the gardens lay dormant for decades, shrouded in a cloak of overgrowth and silence. It wasn't until the 1990s that a dedicated team of gardeners and historians, led by Tim Smit and John Willis, unearthed the forgotten beauty of Heligan and embarked on a mission to breathe life back into this horticultural masterpiece.

The Jungle: A Tropical Wonderland:

One of the most awe-inspiring sections of the Lost Gardens is "The Jungle," a lush and exotic landscape that transports visitors to distant tropical realms. Giant rhubarb, towering bamboo, and prehistoric ferns create a verdant paradise that contrasts with the more traditional English gardens. The Jungle is a testament to Heligan's commitment to diversity, showcasing plants from around the world in harmonious coexistence.

The Productive Gardens: From Seed to Table:

Heligan's historic productivity is evident in the traditional walled gardens, where an array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs are cultivated. The Productive Gardens are a living tribute to the self-sufficiency of Heligan during its heyday, offering visitors a glimpse into the horticultural practices of the past. Seasonal produce is grown organically and used in the estate's kitchen, emphasizing a sustainable and farm-to-table approach.

The Pleasure Grounds: A Symphony of Color:

The Pleasure Grounds at Heligan are a visual symphony, featuring vibrant flowerbeds, ornamental structures, and winding paths that invite exploration. From the iconic Italian Garden to the charming Flower Garden, each area reflects the meticulous planning and attention to detail that went into Heligan's original design. The Pleasure Grounds are a canvas of color that evolves with the seasons, ensuring a visual feast for visitors year-round.

The Melancholy Beauty of the Mud Maid:

One of the most iconic and whimsical features of the Lost Gardens is the Mud Maid, a living sculpture crafted from plants and mud. This enchanting figure, lying peacefully among the foliage, captures the melancholy beauty that defines Heligan. The Mud Maid is a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between nature and artistry that permeates the entire estate.

Conservation and Education:

Beyond its role as a tourist attraction, the Lost Gardens of Heligan actively engage in conservation and education initiatives. The estate hosts workshops, events, and educational programs to inspire a deeper understanding of horticulture, biodiversity, and the importance of preserving our natural heritage. Heligan's commitment to environmental stewardship ensures that its legacy extends beyond the borders of its enchanting landscapes.


The Lost Gardens of Heligan are more than a collection of beautifully restored landscapes; they are a living testament to the power of restoration, conservation, and the enduring beauty of the natural world. As you meander through the Pleasure Grounds, explore the Productive Gardens, and encounter the Mud Maid, you become part of a story that spans generations—a story of rediscovery, resilience, and the timeless allure of Heligan's lost paradise.

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