Inspiration behind the Eden Project

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Tim Smit talks about work to restore Lost Gardens of Heligan.

The inspiration behind the amazing Eden Project and the beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan is the subject of a public lecture, to be delivered by their creator Tim Smit CBEon Wednesday 12 November in the Main Hall, Headington Campus, Gipsy lane (please note: this is a change of venue).

The Lost Gardens of Heligan were discovered and restored by Smit and John Nelson and they are now the most visited private gardens in the UK. Smit's book on the project became a bestseller; an award-winning TV documentary followed and the seed was sown for a much bigger, more complex challenge.

Dubbed 'the Eighth Wonder of the World' by the press, the Eden Project has been a great success story on several levels: as a massively popular tourist attraction; a showcase for potential scientific applications; a trailblazing social enterprise and a vehicle for local regeneration. It is an institution which tackles and raises awareness of issues such as energy saving, waste management, and recycling.

As one commentator put it, the Eden project has 'turned a pit into paradise', or as Smit calls it: 'a living theatre of plants.'

Tim Smit's pioneering role in creating the Eden project has won him widespread recognition including an Honorary CBE in 2002 and the following year, the Royal Society of Arts Albert Medal - a high honour whose past recipients include Michael Faraday, Marie Curie and Orville Wright. .

In 2006 Tim was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Oxford Brookes University for his outstanding contribution to environmental education.

Last year he was voted 'Great Briton of 2007' in the environment category of the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards.