Results 11-20of 22 Reviews
by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
November 24, 2005
There are literally miles of pathways that crisscross the gardens at Eden, known as the Outside Biome. These all radiate from the visitor centre. Being so many combinations of walk available, I will simply list the various outdoor attractions in the order that I investigated them. Every plant display, bed, or feature has its own reference number corresponding to the excellent guidebook, so it should be simple to find all there is to see.
The principal attractions of the Outdoor Biome are split into two main areas known as The Zig-Zag and The West Side. Obviously, the huge diversity and sheer numbers of varying plants makes it impossible to list all that is on show.
The Zig-Zag holds exhibits 0.02 to 0.07. Exhibit 0.02 features flowerless ancient plants such as mosses, ferns, and horsetails that predate the dinosaurs and now provide us with our coal and gas. Exhibit 0.03 contains the world’s food plants, such as maize, wheat, rice, and pulses; 0.04 describes the way that new forms of flowering plants have been cultivated over the centuries; 0.05 deals with plants that yield colours and dyes; and 0.07 with everyday vegetables, albeit planted in massive numbers in ornamental displays, just as impressive as any floral similarity.
As of yet, the Zig-Zag area contains no sculptures or displays other than its plants, and as such, probably appeals to those with a keen interest in the history of how plants have helped mankind over the centuries. Every single plant, tree, or shrub has its own small information board detailing its common and Latin names as well as where it is to be found and the growing conditions it prefers.
This is a remarkable piece of architecture in its own right and serves to give the visitor a taste of what to expect once inside Eden. Before even entering the main doors, you cannot fail to be impressed with the stunning driftwood sculpture of a horse, built to full size. The wood conveys every muscle and sinew of the creature, such is the thought and skill of its sculptor.
Once inside, the centre comprises a large shop selling all manner of goods, in line, of course, with Eden’s theme of conservation and education. Products include foodstuffs, such as honey, preserves and nuts, all types of fruit juices, olive oils, herbs and spices, and coffees and teas; clothing products made with natural fibres; and a huge range of literature and DVD’s, ranging from the idea behind Eden to the plight of the world’s rain forests.
Also inside is a restaurant and washroom facilities. The second section of the visitor centre is situated between the two biomes. This features an enormous restaurant catering for several hundred people; a rest area with comfortable seating; a shop selling films, batteries, and associated camera items; and a play area for the smaller visitors. These facilities all overlook the restaurant area, positioned as they are on an enormous balcony that runs the length of the centre and forms the link between the entrances to the two biomes.
Prices are quite reasonable and the fare very appetising, which was indicated by the many people choosing to dine here. Fully illustrated guidebooks are on sale at £4 and are a must if you really want to get the utmost from the experience. The guidebook deals with every aspect of the project and is good value. If required, knowledgeable guides are available at set times during the day to accompany you around the biomes. They cost £2 per person, with the times indicated on a centrally located board.
To get the best from Eden, I would recommend spending a few minutes studying the guidebook, then plan your intended route. This way, you will benefit rather than wandering around aimlessly and probably missing some of the key exhibits.
Mary Esther, Florida
September 9, 2004
The biomes are constructed of hexagons approximately 9m across. They are made of galvanized steel with layers of polymer foil. The ETFE (ethylene tetra ethylene co-polymer…what a mouthful) is transparent allowing UV light to enter and non-degradable by sunlight. Think big. Think huge!
The first biome we toured was the Humid Tropics Biome…the world’s largest greenhouse. It is home to a huge variety of rainforest plants such as banana trees, cocoa, coffee, teak, giant ferns, and mahogany from the Mediterranean regions of the world. Through the use of sophisticated computerized systems for ventilation and heating, assisted by an immense waterfall, the humid temperate conditions are optimal for growth. Visitors walk at path that climbs high into the biome. You forget you are in chilly Cornwall and imagine you have entered the tropics in South America or South Africa. Overhead misting systems simulate rainstorms. As you climb ever higher, temperatures and humidity rise. Relief stations along the way offer visitors cooling relief from the heat and humidity.
Leaving the tropics, we entered another botanical realm…the desert. In the Warm Temperature Biome, we encountered plants and climatic conditions indicative of the hot dry summers and cool wet winters of California, S.W. Australia, Chile, and parts of the Med. It was dry and dusty here. Unlike the lush, green plants of the Humid Tropic Biome, life here was made up of plants with spines. Plants that thrive in hot, dry environments.
According to guides, there are plans for a third biome that will be a cross-over between these two extremes, a semi-arid biome.
Exiting we spent another hour walking around the outdoor landscape of Eden. Composed of natural crops of Cornwall, Britain, parts of America, and Russia.
When Eden Project first opened in May 2000, first year projections "hoped" for 200,000 visitors per year. By the first birthday of Eden, 1.9 million visitors had traversed the biomes. Today, about two million visitors visit the Eden Project each year.
Important things to know about visiting the Eden project.
Located east of St. Austell, Cornwall, Eden Project is 30 miles from Plymouth and 270 miles west of London. It can be reached by car or by train from London. Purchase your ticket to Eden from any railway station. At the St. Austell station, pick up a bus to Eden and back.
Allow about four to six hours to see and savor everything. Don’t dash through the biomes. Allow some "quiet time" to savor the nuances of each very different part of our living world.
Eden is not an attraction for the traveler who needs action and excitement. A visit to the Eden Project is a living theatre of our worldwide environment. It is an awakening and an education in the important environmental issues that shape our daily lives and our future.
From journal Exploring Life in the Biomes of the Eden Project
August 12, 2004
Photographers: Your compound lenses are going to fog up inside if the air temperature outside was cooler. To rectify this problem, wrap the lens with your hand for about 10 minutes to warm it up. Better to do this before entering the biome. Keep the lens cap on to avoid the misters directly. Wear layered clothing, as it gets hotter as you go up, so remove layers as you go. Bring, lots of film, I easily went through a rolls of 36 Fujichrome 100. Better to bring some 200 or 400 ASA or go digital. It is dark in the jungle!
Jungle trees race up to the light, some growing several metres a year. Climbers hitch a ride while orchids and ferns, live high in the living skyscrapers. Different rainforest species share certain characteristics because they have evolved to cope with the hot, steamy conditions. Large, shiny leaves with ‘gutters’ and ‘drip’ tips designed to shed excess water. Plant leaves with purple undersides act as reflectors to bounce back the 2% of light that filters through to the forest floor.
Beginning with the Tropical Islands, the Mangrove swamps that link land and sea are presented with the use of a large pond feed by a meandering stream. Going up in elevation and passing by bamboo we reach Malaysia. Here there is a full size house and garden based on a village in Sabah, Malaysia. Beyond the rice paddy, the path widens at a stunning Bo tree where Buddha meditated to find enlightenment. Still higher, past the rushing waterfall, is West Africa. Here are crops like coffee and cacao that need shade grow beneath trees. On the left-hand slope along the contours are maize, sorghum and other crops to stabilize the soil. From the top of the waterfall some 50 feet below is the giant Amazonian water lily with its rimmed circular leaves some measuring more than 5 feet.
Entering the Mediterranean basin of the Warm Temperate Biome, there is immediate relief of cooler and drier air. Juniper, wild olive, laurel, myrtle and tree heather scents are in the breeze and seeing the white washed Pablo walls with hanging baskets of flowers, Spanish tiles and clay potted plants remind us of our previous trip to Spain.
Continuing down and around the bend is Little Karoo with its muted grey foliage that gives South Africa its scent. Stunning lilies, orchids and irises do well in the nutrient-poor soil.
Crossing the equator we now find ourselves in the California chaparral with scrub oak and toyon also known as "California Holly" and "Christmas Berry". Nearby is an amazing cork oak wood pasture with sculpted pigs and piglets.
Past the clementines, grapefruit and lemons is a wild Bacchanal amongst the orderly rows of grape vines. The fields of peppers, tomatoes and sunflowers are impressive in their quantities.
All in all, the Eden Project is a must see and smell.
From journal Summer in Cornwall
Leaving the car behind in the Grapes lot and taking a bus to ticket office and gift shop complex one has views of the sheer size of this project at the many vantage points at the outer pit rim paths. I recommend purchasing the enumerated guidebook that makes the experience even richer and maps to help not miss a section. We packed a sandwich lunch to avoid the crowds in the restaurant and there were many beautiful spots to eat along the way or at the many picnic table areas.
Beginning our descent along the zigzag pathway we experience the ancient plants; ferns, horsetails and mosses; the plants that feed the world; Maize, Wheat, Rice and Potatoes; garden flowers, plants for colours and dyes and plants for taste. Now at the Biomes link bridge entrance we continue with the West side outside displays.
Wheat, barley, yeast, and hops were doing well and were complemented by Reece Ingram’s carved traditional hop poles. Next; tea bushes, hemp, potatoes in black, orange, dark red, striped, knobbly and smooth forms, plants for rope and fibre, Steppe and Prairie plants, plants for fuel and plants in myth and folklore.
2004 was Britain’s Year of the Garden and the Hydrangeas were spectacular here and in most of Cornwall. Lavender was also present on mass along with pollinators.
Especially interesting was the Cornish heath land complete with hedges with artifacts and a winding serpentine message in the ground.
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
May 28, 2004
A new use has been found for one of the clay pits though; an innovative and compelling development called the Eden Project has sprung up and is starting to pull in the visitors.
Opened in 2001, the Eden Project is a fantastical botanical garden designed to appeal to the short attention span generation. Let's be honest here, plants are not particularly sexy or appealing to most kids. In a former life I was a Biology teacher and remember how challenging it was to enthuse my delightful charges with a desire to understand the natural world as more than the green outdoor bits where you couldn't plug in the Playstation. The Eden Project is the field trip I needed.
As with any good hole in the ground you don't really know its there until you fall in. Once over the rim your eyes are quickly drawn to the huge geodesic domes. These are, apparently, the biggest conservatories in the world and contain two of Eden's three 'biomes'; the climactic environments that form the themes of the Project's attractions.
The journey down is via 'The Zigzag'; a path that leads you through the start of 'the Outdoor Biome'. This is a living exhibition of plants that can grow readily in this country. Like teenagers on a trip though we only had eyes for the domes. Prettily arranged lines of maize and wheat did not hold us in thrall I'm afraid.
The larger of the two Biomes is the real scene-stealer of the Project - the 'Humid Tropics Biome'. This is what we came to see; exotic giant palms and bizarre flowers; cocoa and bananas; bamboo and cassava. We visited on what was clearly a 'coach trip for the golden generation' day and the artificially high humidity was taking its toll. The tendency of the older gent in England is to wear a nice wool suit and tie on a day out with Mrs. England in something practical and tweedy. Mind you, it was a stubborn refusal to let impractical clothing get in the way that once built an empire so I shouldn't mock.
An air-conditioned link corridor provides some respite from the climactic bullying. It is also the venue of the major grazing area. The second biome, 'The Warm Temperate Biome' was next although this didn't have the drama of the tropics. It is fascinating for those who 'know' plants but for many it has a touch of the garden centre about it.
The Eden Project delivers a strong environmental message in a witty, 'unpreachy' way. I've skimmed the surface here - the whole experience is fascinating and even those turned off 'nature' may well come away enlightened.
Admission is £12.
From journal Cornwall - Camelot, Eden, and Ice Cream
May 24, 2004
From journal Cornwall -- a surfer's paradise
April 5, 2004
From journal English Countryside
by Holiday Jo
Kettering, United Kingdom
February 13, 2004
When you have gone through the main doors, you enter the outdoor area and can just see two huge biomes; one is the humid tropics biome, the largest conservatory in the world, and one is the warm temperate biome. In the outdoor area, there are different exhibits set up and you are able to interact with them, which would be great for kids and also educational. When we went, the weather was quite cold and a little rainy, but once you walk into the biomes, everything changes. In the humid tropics biome, we literally had to remove most of our layers as it was really warm in there. In the warm temperate, we found it more comfortable to walk around, but in both, we found it absolutely fascinating being able to see what grows in these areas and we also got to taste the fruit and vegetables.
This is one place I would definitely recommend visiting even if plants are not your thing. I promise you it is amazing and worth the £10 entrance fee. I would suggest visiting in the afternoon when it is less busy and you get to spend more time at each exhibit.
From journal The Cream Of Devon
bilston, United Kingdom
November 19, 2003
From journal heligan's heroes....