Cornwall LivingIssue #95
A restorative journey
“Wild horses could not have stopped us opening that door” – Sir Tim Smit.
This February sees the world-famous Lost Gardens of Heligan celebrate 30 years since Tim Smit and John Willis first pushed open the creaky door to the then bramble-covered Flower Garden. Since those first days of rediscovery, fired by a passion to celebrate the lives of the working men and women of the Heligan Estate, Heligan went on to become not only Europe’s largest garden restoration but also ‘The Nation’s Favourite Garden’, ‘Britain’s Finest Garden’ and ‘Best UK Garden’ – all voted for by the public.
“We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us”
30 years on and Heligan remains very much in the hearts and minds of Britain’s garden lovers, the early restoration continuing to conjure up the romance of adventure and discovery, whilst the pioneering vision of recreating Heligan’s Kitchen Gardens has helped reignite the UK’s love of productive gardening.
Throughout the last three decades, Heligan has continued an organic evolution, inspiring the next generation of gardeners before restoring another lost landscape, transforming its 200-acre estate back to good heart. Native and rare breed livestock has now returned to Heligan’s pasture, inviting visitors to connect further to our cherished countryside whilst making links between sustainable quality food production and the journey from soil to plate.
Throughout Heligan’s hedgerows, woodlands and historic buildings, wildlife thrives, finding its niche within the sensitively managed landscape and adding another important and uplifting element to The Lost Gardens experience. The whole balance of the natural world is considered and protected as Heligan continues to strive to create not only a quality and fun visitor experience, but also a meaningful and uplifting one, that reconnects us to our food, horticulture and the natural world.
The 2020 Lost Gardens team is looking forward to the next decade – excited to continue the journey of restoration, as they look to restore the public’s connection to the natural world and embark on the road of restoring human health through nature.
The proven benefits on human health and wellbeing through interaction with plants and wildlife are continuously revealed. In 2020, the Heligan team are working with health professionals, the community and its visitors to further create a calendar of events and ‘natural connections’ that are designed to leave you feeling uplifted, inspired and most importantly, re-energised.
As environmental sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy puts it: “We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost connection with ourselves.”
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
"We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us"