The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Situated near the quaint 14th Century fishing village of Mevagissey, a beautiful long hidden Victorian garden discovered and lovingly restored in 1992 giving an insight into the past. Heligan has been the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years and at the end of the nineteenth century the thousand acre estate was at its most magnificent.

The estate was awakened in 1991 and it was the discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens that gave an insight into the demise of the once great gardens. A motto etched into the limestone in barely legible pencil still reads "Don't come here to sleep or slumber" and, under it, the names of all those who had worked there, signed under the date, 1914. Therefore the story of the Heligan gardens is not one of Lords and Ladies but of the "ordinary" people, those gardeners who worked the estate, before they departed for the Great War.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall
B&B near the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall
Bed and Breakfast near the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall

It took only a few years for the green veil of bramble and ivy to draw itself over the gardens and the devastating hurricane in 1990 should surely have laid this sleeping beauty to rest. But upon the discovery of the motto in that little walled garden the restoration team were inspired by the romance of their decay and vowed to return these gardens to their former glory.

The long term ambition of the Heligan team is to maintain the estate as a living and working example of the best of past practice, through working within the natural environment, accepting and respecting it and protecting and enhancing the variety of habitats with which the project is endowed. Through their work the estate is now a metaphor for sustainable living; in its heyday, before food imports and supermarkets, the gardens supplied everything, both to the family at the manor house and the community of workers. The gardens are managed as they were in their Georgian prime, using the same combination of practicality and waste-not-want-not philosophies.

The Heligan Gardens now have a large established working team with their own vision for the second decade of restoration. The award-winning garden restoration is already internationally acclaimed; but the lease on the Heligan estate now extends into well over 200 acres, leaving the project far from complete.

The Heligan gardens are close to a number of guest houses, self-catering cottages or hotels and if you're looking for things to do in Cornwall the Heligan Gardens are only a half hour drive from the Hazelmere House B&B. They provide the perfect kids day out if you've been to too many fun parks, or you just fancy a relaxing jaunt around one of England's historic gardens, whether there are children in tow or you're by yourself. With such wonderful flower and fauna, they are a must for all garden lovers.