Reg Haskell Photography

The Charcoal Kilns at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

The 200-acre botanical gardens surrounding Heligan House were created and developed by members of the Tremayne family from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century, after which they fell into neglect and became completely overgrown. In 1990 the then representative of the family, John Willis, began to explore the gardens with local entrepreneur Tim Smits. The latter co-opted his builder friend John Nelson, and the two of them led what has since been recognised as Europe's largest garden restoration project, documented in a six-part Channel 4 TV series in 1996 and Smits' book 'The Lost Gardens of Heligan' (1997). The gardens are now leased from the Tremayne Estate by a company owned by their restorers, who continue to cultivate them and operate them as a visitor attraction.
This traditional practice of charcoal burning has been reintroduced, and produces barbeque and artists' charcoal.
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