When is the best time to come? Our
busiest time is between 10.30am and 2pm. So, the best time to come is
usually after 2pm. The latter part of the week seems to be quieter
than the first half. School holidays are also busy. During the summer
holidays we have late night opening dates - see "Latest visitor
information" for details.
Do I need to purchase a ticket in advance? Advance tickets allow you to use the fast
track ticket desks which will speed your progress through ticketing
when it is very busy.
What's it about ? It's all about mankind's
relationship with and dependence upon plants. Much of our food, our
clothes, our shelter and our medicines all come from the plant world.
Without plants there would be no oxygen for us to breathe no life on
The way we treat plants and work with them is the story of the planet. Decisions
we make now will materially affect the way our children and our
children's children live and thrive (or not) on this fragile planet.
The Eden Project is a showcase for all the questions and many of the
answers. But Eden is not a worthy, over - serious guilt ridden place;
nor does it preach. It is about education and communication of the
major environmental issues of the day always presented in an engaging,
involving even humorous way.
What's in it? Over 100,000 plants representing
5,000 species from many of the climatic zones of the world. Many of
these can grow in the mild conditions of Cornwall, others demand
greenhouses and that is where Eden's two gigantic conservatories come
in. The Humid Tropics Biome - the world's largest greenhouse - is home
to the plants of the rainforest - bananas, rubber, cocoa, coffee, teak
and mahogany. Whilst the Warm Temperate Biome is filled with the plants
of the Mediterranean regions of the world - South Africa, California
and the Med. itself. Outside sunflowers, hemp, wheat and a host of
other plants from our own region grow.
In addition to the plants themselves art is central to Eden's
interpretation strategy and right from day one there have been many
artistic expressions of storytelling across the site.
The public are naturally most interested in the excitement of the
two giant conservatories - if we were an aquarium they would be our
sharks - but there is much, much more to Eden than these two
sensational structures and the use of the word Project in the name
reflects the constantly changing nature of the place.
Whose idea was it? Tim Smit's and the gang he
was working with recovering the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan. The
more he grew to know of plants the more he wanted to tell the
fascinating story of their importance to mankind but it needed a much
broader canvass than Heligan a grander scale and, of course, those
giant greenhouses. Along the way Tim gathered many others to help flesh
out the vision and make it the reality it is today. But in the
beginning one man has to have the idea and it was Tim.
Is it for scientific people or will the general public find it interesting? Eden
is all about making plant based issues interesting to everyone. Maybe 3
million people in this country are already signed up to environmental
groups in some way Eden welcomes them but is actually more interested
in the 53 million others who are not those who are disinterested or who
feel the environment is of no relevance to them or that they are too
"small" anyway to effect any real change.
So, Eden is specifically designed to engage the public at large not
just the scientists. It is designed to educate but with a light touch
and a style which aims to delight and amuse as well as inform.
Is there anything for kids? Lots. The schools
are literally queuing up to experience the Eden magic. For the family
visitors there is plant based play equipment, lots of workshops for
children to get involved with and soon a new Education Centre full of
fascinating exhibits fro children of all ages.
Do you allow dogs? We do not allow dogs onto the
main site (except guide dogs) but we do have a limited amount of shaded
parking available on a first come first served basis. It's best to
arrive either first thing (9am) or after 2.30pm when things are a
little quieter to stand a better chance of getting a space in the
Is it accessible for the disabled? We have a
disabled parking area and wheelchairs are available on a first come
first served basis - some with a battery pack. There is also a
landtrain (which can carry wheelchairs) which runs between the Visitor
Centre and the Biomes. Routes suitable for wheelchairs are marked and
you will find seats dotted about the site so that you can take a rest
if you need to.
Who owns it? The Eden Charitable Trust who have
set up Eden Project Limited to build run and administer the place and
ensure the commercial surpluses which will guarantee its future .
Where is it? Eden is set amongst the china clay
country just East of St Austell - the major clay-mining town. It is 30
miles west of Plymouth and 15 west of Bodmin - about 270 west of
London. 50 miles further west is Lands End.
Is it all finished? No indeed we hope it never
will be. Like all gardens Eden will evolve over time. The Outdoor
Biome is beginning to flesh out nicely, ther Warm Temperate Biome
too and of course the Tropics looks fantastic at any time of year.
We're just putting the finishing touches to our new Education Building
Are there any animals? Obviously outside there
will be all the natural fauna of a place like Cornwall and many bird
species already seem happy to make Eden their new home. In the
controlled environment of the Biomes there are some beneficial insects
and lizards, there to eat the bugs, but there are no plans for any
other incursions into zoology that is not what Eden is about.
How long should a visitor spend there? From
research carried out over the past few months it seems the average stay
is between three and four hours. Like visiting a major country house
with gardens it is a good half day out . Ultimately there will 90
exhibits or stories so just 4 minutes spent at each of them would be
360 minutes or 6 hours!
We expect many will miss a few things during their first visit and wish to return another day to take it all in.
Is there an adventure playground? No unless you take Eden's 35 acres as one gigantic natural one.
What happens in 20 years time? Eden is here for
everyone forever. In 20 years time it will doubtless be a slightly
different place physically but it will retain all its core aims and
objectives and culture. Like all gardens it will get better with age
and some of the trees in the Humid Tropics Biome will have developed a
middle aged spread and may be gently challenging the roof. In short it
will be bigger and better - mature but always fun.
How many visitors are you expecting? We had
1.91m by March 17th 2002 - our first birthday!. The business plan for
2001 said 750,000! In 2000 we cautiously anticipated around 200,000
and hit more than double that. So far we've had over 6 million. We
are averaging 1.2m visitors per year.
Is there a direct rail link? Yes, you can now
purchase a ticket to Eden from any railway station. It will include a
supplement which will cover your entrance fee and a bus transfer
service to & from Eden! For details call 08457 484950. How sustainable is the transport proposition? It
is a prerequisite of our planning consent that 20% of our visitors come
by means other than a car; with over 4000 coach bookings in already we
may well meet that quite aggressive figure this year. Cyllists get a
£3 discount, so on your bike!
What public transport links are there?
We have established regular bus links with key towns in the area
such as St Austell and Newquay and we are helping to subsidise those
journeys so that a great day out at Eden is never just for those with a
car. For details please call Truronian on 01872 273453
We have our own bridleways and are on the national Sustrans cycle
How are you going to ensure wildlife in the Biomes doesn't escape? The
foundation ribbon design encircling the Biomes is an inbuilt barrier;
we anticipate no problems and there is nothing dangerous to escape
The risk of importing invasive pests? All
imported plants go into quarantine and we have always worked very
closely with DEFRA to ensure that we are not importing pests. We
encourage their involvement, our plants are our greatest asset so we
would be mad to ride roughshod over the rules and regulations. Our
"green team" and their links to botanical institutes and universities
around the world are second to none in their capability to identify,
monitor, assess and deal with pest problems.
Isn't it all just a big green theme park? To
many it will indeed be a green theme park. Great. Naturally that
expression has a slightly pejorative ring to it for many of our staff
but it's easy shorthand for many. But the real difference of course
lies in the scientific integrity and talent which underpins the whole
enterprise; the academic excellence on site and beyond with the many
partnerships we have set up with institutes, universities and
individuals right across the world. Our head of science Professor Sir
Ghillean Prance who most recently was head of Kew is just one example
of what makes us much more than just a green theme park. Check out the
supporters under who's who to find out who we are working with.
Admission prices high in one of Europe's poorest areas? Our
pricing levels are commensurate with a Premier league attraction in
this part of the country. Much cheaper than many in London but at the
top of the league locally. That is how it should be when you are
offering Grade A entertainment and a 3 or 4 hour experience.
And remember the Eden
Annual Pass. It'ssoeasy-if,insteadofpayingourdailyadmissionprice,youchoosetomaketheEdenTrustagiftofthesameamount,youwillbeabletoexchangeyouradmissionticketforanannualpasstoEden.
£86 million could have been better spent? We do
not have time for this never ending and insoluble debate. Naturally
enough we believe that Eden's ultimate ability to affect change on all
our lives makes the upfront price tag potentially very cheap indeed.
And remember that the lottery funding which set us on our way could not
have been spent on anything which was the responsibility of local or
central government anyway ... so the "hospital syndrome" is and was ,in
reality, an irrelevance the money could never have gone that way.
How will the Eden Project affect the economy of the local community?
The Eden Project's own team currently stands at around 500 permanent staff. Of those, 75% are employed locally.
Effect on wider community Eden has attracted
over 6 million vistors since opening in March 2001; around 85% of these
are on holiday and in research carried out 8 times a year over 40% say
they were " extremely" or "very" influenced by Eden to visit the
county. This incremental business is estimated to have brought over
half a billion pounds into the region as visitors spend time and money
in the county they were attracted to visit by Eden. Eden sources well
over half of all purchases locally and over 80% of its catering
requirements - this, in turn, brings wealth to our 2,500 local
suppliers. The project now employs over 400 full time employees boosted
still further by summer casuals - yet another powerful economic effect
on a previously very depressed area of Europe.
Training Eden Project will act as a major
educational resource and is already working in partnership with local
schools, colleges and universities.
Schools programmes are very popular. Check out the schools section
for more information. In summary the Eden Project will increase job
opportunities throughout the region and also provide a high quality
How does Eden Project affect the roads around the site? Primary access A
small stretch of new road was originally built to the Eden Project
linking from the A391 mini roundabout at Carluddon. The fact that it
crossed a non-statutory site of interest for nature conservation (an
SINC) for 200m was mitigated by creating habitats of similar ecological
value on ground provided by English China Clays (within 1 km). The
road then follows the china clay haul road, around Trebal refinery to
the north side of Trebal for approximately 1 km. It then goes SE
above Starrick Moor to Little Carne. Then down to the site. This covers
The new road was the first road in Cornwall to follow the
Environment Agency's best management practice for urban drainage (with
grass swales and ponds to control flows and pollution from surface run
off). The new road has been landscaped with native trees and
traditional hedgerows where it abuts farmland.
What are the Biomes covered with? The Biomes are
made up of hexagons that are approximately 9m across. The frame is
galvanised tubular steel glazed with a triple layer of ETFE (Ethylene
Tetra Fluoro Ethylene Co-Polymer) foil. ETFE is a transparent,
recyclable foil and should last for at least 30 years. It is self
cleaning as it is anti static. It is very strong, transparent to UV
light and is not degraded by sunlight. The whole structure is
guaranteed maintenance free for at least 25 years.
How big are the Biomes? a) Humid Tropics Biome: 15,590 metre square (1.55 hectares) 55 metres high 100 metres wide 200 metres long
b) Warm Temperate Biome: 6,540 metre square (0.65 hectares) 35 metres high 65 metres wide 135 metres long
How is the climate maintained in the covered Biomes? Climatic control uses sophisticated computerised systems for automatic ventilation and heating. This is assisted by;
Having good insulation to conserve heat and therefore energy. The
three layers of ETFE foil within the hexagons are blown apart by air
forming an insulating pillow. The conservatories are designed as
'lean to greenhouses'. The back wall acts as a heat sink absorbing heat
in the day and releasing it at night. The plants. The plants
themselves help to control the climate (eg, when it gets hotter they
give off more water and cool the air). The more plants there are, the
easier it is to control the climate. Heating is provided by a
combined heat and power unit. Renewable sources will replace fossil
fuels when Eden can afford to implement the sustainable systems.
What is your water strategy? Water collected
from run off (from the roofs of the Biomes) is used both to water the
plants and create the humidity in the Humid Tropics Biome. An automatic
watering system is also used. Potable water will of course be used
for drinking and cooking requirements.
Does it rain in the Humid Tropics Biome? A waterfall in the Humid Tropics Biome will help to create high humidity.
Other facts and figures about the Eden Site Total Site Area - 502,022 metres square (50 hectares) External landscape - 97,843 metres square (10 hectares) Amphitheatre Area - 2,282 metres square (stage 700 mtr sq) Seating 2109 people
How long will it take for all the plants to fully mature and form an ecosystem? In
nature, ecosystems go through a series of developments that end in a
climax vegetation. In the Biomes pioneer vegetation will be steadily
replaced by a climax vegetation (just as would occur in nature) within
15 years. Pioneer species in the tropics may grow 3 or 4 metres a year
in height. (the tropical bamboo, Bambusa gigantica can grow up to 45 cm
a day!) Trees are introduced to the Biomes at about 6m in height.
Plants are being raised in the Eden Project nursery nearby and continue
to supply plants to the Eden Project site on an ongoing basis.
Where do the plants come from? The plants are
grown from seed and cuttings and brought in from nurseries, research
stations and Botanic Gardens all over the world.
Will you be trying to 'breed' endangered plant species? We
have already started on a small breeding programme to maintain stocks
of endangered conifers (in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens,
Edinburgh). E.g. Fitzroyia from the Andean mountains in Chile.