I’ve always wanted to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most mysterious estates in England and when I visited recently I loved every minute. Not only have they got acres and acres of woodland and gardens, they’ve also got a rather excellent farm shop on site too.
The gardens came about when the Tremayne family created them over a period of four hundred years, inspired by their passion for travel and the trends of the Victorian period. Between 1770 and 1914 the estate became an almost self-sufficient community in it’s thousand acres but gradual decline set in when the last resident squire departed in the twenties. After seventy years of neglect, the outbuildings and glasshouses had become derelict and the garden was choked by overgrowth. Then came the Great Storm which ripped right through it. Then a group came together to restore the gardens. It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty one years since the restoration and the space has evolved through the talented and committed staff who throw open the gardens and showcase their skill to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through it each year.
A long morning here wasn’t going to touch the surface, however it was long enough for me to walk through the ancient woodlands (there’s a Lost Valley too), wander through the sub-tropical jungle, grab a slice of cake and explore the Estate’s Farm Shop.
Within the 80 acres of ancient woodland at Heligan there are some real delights. A sheltered path comes to life as woodland sculptures reveal themselves.
As you leave the Gardens you’ll see Lobbs Farm Shop which is run by three brothers – Terry, Ian and Richard who are fifth generation local farmers. Here you’ll find local cheese, very local meat and vegetables and the usual Cornish fayre.
St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6EN