Yesterday GD and I availed ourselves of our locals pass for Heligan Gardens, we have been meaning to go for ages but never quite set a day for it, so I was well pleased to be making up a flask in the morning and heading over there.
Heligan is a very popular place to visit, it has something for every age and every ability, GD and I were torn between doing the ‘Family Welly Walk’ geared for family and friends to provide puddles for splashing and playful learning and the ‘Nature Walk’ designed to boost health and help you reconnect with nature, we opted for the nature walk and chose the 2.5 route over the shorter 1.5..
We found a space to park quiet easily near the cafe, shop and reception area and noted that there was plenty of parking in the over flow areas just off to the right.
The young lady in reception was jolly and friendly and we were soon kitted out with printed routes that gave key information and descriptions of the area, so we could choose our level of walk appropriately. The printed sheets came with pictures and little bits of information on things to look out for of interest along the way.
We began by following the Woodland Walk sign just outside reception onto a tree lined woodland trail, first stop was the ‘Giants Head’
We passed by the ‘Giant’s Adventure Trail Play Space’ where you could practice your balancing, jumping and climbing skills and onto see the Mud Maid
We followed the trail onto the ‘Gregorian Ride’ where we passed the ‘Bee Observation Hive’, and an information board all about the birds, small animals and trees and the surrounding area.
Down the path we came across ‘The British Lop pigs’ they were were astounding! I have never seen such a size of pig before, maybe four or more times the size of pigs you generally see at a farm
Just before we entered the lost valley we came upon the ‘Insect Hotel’ providing homes for many hibernating insects.
Down towards the ponds just before the ‘Charcoal Kilns’ is a magnificent ‘Ancient Oak’, a haven for wildlife and supporting more biodiversity than any other native tree.
Producing charcoal is an important part of Heligan’s woodland management.
There is a ‘Sculpture’ here to admire.
Now is a choice to be made, you can splash about in the stream that comes down from the jungle and then turn left, walking up into the jungle area to walk across the ‘Burmese Rope Bridge’ (the largest in England) or as we did this time you can opt to go visit the ‘Hide’ for a spot of bird watching, the ‘Hide’ is a lovely spot with interactive games and screens for the young and old alike to enjoy and a seating area where you can watch the many varied species of bird feeding. You will need to climb Park an Lann hill, which is a short but steepish hill. At the brow of the hill you may meet with a lovely little family of Red Devons munching hay. (The Hide is also accessible from taking the other routes).
on leaving the hide there is more to explore such as the ‘Rare Breeds’ farm, full of sheep, ducks, geese etc.
‘The Barn’ home to some friendly donkeys and goats at the moment,
a pigeon loft, beehives
walled gardens and green houses still producing vegetables and fruits,
places to sit and be, peaceful water fountains, a well, a mirror tree, rooms to peek in to catch a glimpse of how things were done in days gone by.
(or santas grotto). You could see where the children’s area had been set up for posting letters to Santa.
There is a shop on the way out where you can sit and browse the bookshelves, a wonderful array of books, and also selling all sorts of gifts, crafts, games etc. and a small clothing section, a place to eat , the food and drinks looked very inviting. There is also a farm shop.
There was even more we didn’t get to explore, we could have spent the whole day here!, a 400 year old sycamore tree, Becon’s path leading to views over st Austell bay, well there is always next time.
A thoroughly enjoyable day.