We spent the Easter holiday in Cornwall. Whilst many parts of Britain had snow over the Easter weekend it was sunny, but cold, at the Eden Project near St Austell. Actually we did see a very brief flurry of fine snow at one point on Saturday afternoon and it was very windy. We stayed with our son and his family at Carlyon Bay Hotel just outside St Austell overlooking the sea.
The Eden Project was first opened in 2001 and we’™ve been meaning to go there ever since then. Their website says, ‘œEden is all about man’s relationship with and dependence upon plants. Much of our food, our clothes, our shelter and our medicines come from the plant world. Without plants there would be no oxygen for us to breathe, no life on earth.’
It has been constructed in what was a clay pit and the view is most impressive as you approach the deep, steep-sided, flat-bottomed bowl containing the hugh domes. They are the biggest greenhouses in the world, called Biomes. From the entrance in the Visitor Centre we walked down towards the Biomes looking first at the Outdoor Biome following the winding path down the hillside passing areas planted with crops, and daffodils and spring bulbs. As it was Easter there was an Easter Egg hunt to follow with clues hidden throughout the site. We tried to follow the trail, but the clues were too hard for us adults, let alone the children, although we did solve a few. There is a giant bee, the magical land of Myth and Folklore, and a willow maze looking bare at this time of year.
As it is Eden I wasn’™t surprised to find Eve there, but she wasn’™t quite what I expected. She is a large reclining statue, her face made up of small mosaic mirrors and moss is just beginning to grow on her body. Eventually she will all be covered in moss ‘“ a green woman. I didn’™t see Adam.
There is a grotesque piece of artwork ‘“ the WEEE Man, a reminder that the Project is an educational charity aiming to show the need for environmental awareness and sustainability. WEEE Man is a three-tonne, seven-metre tall robotic figure, made up of old washing machines, computer mice, TVs and a vast array of other electrical goods. WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The sculpture is made up of the amount the average UK citizen will throw away in their lifetime ‘“ really horrific.
The Rainforest Biome is my favourite. It covers an area of 15,590 square metres (1.55 hectares), is 55 metres high, 100 metres wide and 200 metres long and it’™s high enough to hold the Tower of London or eleven double-decker buses piled on top of one another. As we went in people were rapidly taking off coats and jumpers because of the heat. It is truly most impressive and it’™s steamy, hot and humid. You can see what it is like living in Malaysia,
The Mediterranean Biome was much cooler, but surprised me as there were displays of plants and scenes from South Africa and California, not just the Med.
There was an Ice Skating Rink, a ‘œSimply Delicious Marquee’ where the children decorated cupcakes, and a storytelling tent where we were entertained by the “Spice Man”, with his tales of sailing the seas and the uses of spices in days gone by.
The Eden Project is a remarkable experience, well worth a visit. If we lived nearer I would like to go more often, spending just a few hours each visit rather than a whole day, which was exhausting, but most enjoyable and educational. I can’t believe that I didn’t buy any books from the Visitor Centre – that must be a first. There are a number of books listed on the Eden Project website, so I’ll browse through these to see which ones I would like.