The Eden Project
OS Grid ref:- SX 049 548
The Eden Project, a large scale environmental complex, is located around 3 miles (5km) from the town of St. Austell it is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the country and provides an unforgettable experience in a stunning location.
The attraction occupies the site of a former china clay pit and consists of two huge transparent domes, called biomes, which house around 100,000 plant species from around the world. Each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The domes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames. The Eden Project was conceived in 1994 by Tim Smit, who was also responsible for recovering the famous Lost Gardens of Heliganand designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw. It was funded by a £55.3 million grant from the Millennium Commission
The first dome, the Humid Tropics Biome, recreates a tropical environment, at over 200 metres long and up to 50 metres high it is one of the largest greenhouses in the World. It contains more than a thousand plant species. The rainforest dome is a majestic cathedral where visitors can wander through a steamy jungle passing thundering waterfalls.
The Warm Temperate Biome assumes a Mediterranean-type environment, where there are olive groves, citrus orchards and vines to be seen, as well as plants from South Africa and California.The landscaped grounds of Eden's outdoor biome have lavender, tea and hemp with amazing gardens within the global garden and a section on wild Cornwall.
The massive project took two and a half years to complete and contains a vast collection of exotic plants.
The newest addition to the site is the Core opened by the Queen in September, 2005, it provides an educational facility, incorporating classrooms and exhibition spaces designed to help communicate Eden's central message about the relationship between people and plants. Accordingly, the building has taken its inspiration from plants, most noticeable in the form of the soaring timber roof, which gives the building its distinctive shape.
Home to an educational and environmental charity, the Eden Trust, the project is a living theatre of plants, housing the largest rain forest in captivity, its aims are 'To promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources leading to a sustainable future for all'.
The Eden Project has an informative visitor centre, gift shop and restaurant and is well signposted from the A391. The Eden Project is very extensive, requiring a great deal of walking, often up and down sloping terraces. A train runs a regular service from the Visitor Centre to the entrance to the domes.