Tuesday, 19 July 2011

East of Eden

Living in the middle of the country (not far off dead-centre, actually!) means getting to the coastal extremities is a long, long journey! So trekking down to Cornwall is not something we'd do on a whim - nearly 300 miles and not all of it on motorways - think slow, windy lanes in places!

Anyway, we had the opportunity to visit the westernmost county of England (although some see it as a kingdom of its own) and decided to fulfil a long-held wish to visit the Eden Project while we were there.

Battling heavy rain showers was interesting but once inside the 'biomes' it was, indeed, like being in a different world.

The two main structures (biomes) contain the 'Rainforest' and 'Mediterranean' climates and you have to admire the sheer construction of the habitats to begin with! The Rainforest biome is large enough to contain the Tower of London - aparently, the biomes are recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest 'conservatories'!

(to give you an idea of scale - click on the picture and look at the people on the walkways of this aerial gantry!)

In the Rainforest biome the temperature and humidity hit you smack in the face - with cold-room respite shelters for those overcome by the conditions! With the birds, small lizards and waterfalls it's the nearest I shall ever come to a jungle - thank goodness they hadn't also imported too many indigenous insects and creepy-crawlies! (But I spotted a stray Robin picking through the undergrowth!)

Besides being beautiful to look at, there's a great concept of education behind it all:

Walking into the Mediterranean biome was like a breath of fresh air - much more temperate! And some of the planting was more more familiar, too!

Although, there was a re-created desert habitat with specimens (and fun items!) from the west coast of America - hmmm, 'Mediterranean'?

Aside from these two massive biomes there's a huge refectory and bakery:

Also, building on the education theme, 'The Core' houses inter-active exhibits on ecology

Ecology, in fact, is the name of the game - the whole site is contained within a former clay mining pit and as such is 'invisible' in the surrounding Cornish landscape. Natural rainwater harvested from the biomes' surface and surrounding areas drains into vast collection reservoirs under the site, servicing the irrigation system and the toilets! Everything, where possible, is recycled - non-recyclable items are used to make original art-work to adorn the outer garden spaces!

It was an interesting concept - but I couldn't help having a futuristic sci-fi moment as I passed by this viewpoint, imagining a post apocalyptic remnant of mankind being forced to live in these 'glass bubbles':

Anyway, just a few pics to give you a flavour!


  1. Love those sculptures, but the structure itself reminds me of one of the Dr Who episodes.Sue

  2. wow! what a place! Since I'm not a fan of heights, there's no way I'd go up on those walkways. Would love to visit this place though. Glad they didn't get carried away with some things. can you imagine climbing a stairway and having a boa constrictor waiting for your return?:)

  3. Now that was fascinating! Probably going to need a lot more of those domes to protect species as the global climate is disrupted my pollution.

  4. Amazing, Sue. Thanks for posting the pix. I never even knew that such a place existed. Shows you what I know. :)

    And it would make me feel as if I were living within the remainder of a lost civilization - those globes shapes, I mean.

    Sounds like you had a great time visiting Cornwall and the Eden Project. Cornwall is one of those places in the world I would most like to visit.

  5. Sue, sorry I haven't been by a while...work has sucked badly.

    I love those biomes! This looks like a great trip and one I would mark on my itinerary should I be lucky enough to visit your fair land one day. Superb shots...thanks for the visual tour!

  6. Hi Sue .. so pleased you got there - I call it my home from home .. ie Cornwall - a stopping point is the Eden Project - my mother lived in Penzance .. so we were always going up .. I have an aunt nearby just outside St Austell .. I love stopping there - I'm a member .. and can wander in when I want - makes a good break point for me .. also 300 miles to Pz ..

    Their quarterly magazine is very good - if you join as a member - lots of interesting ecological articles ...

    I've never been to the Lost Gardens of Heligan - don't know if you made it there? Tim Smit was influential in those too ...

    Love your pictures and description .. cheers Hilary