So much more to do, and undo..

The ‘Back Sheds’, located along the north side of the Vinery wall, were in a very poor state. For the want of a few kilos of lead, the 200 ft long structure had effectively been destroyed by vandals.

2001 back sheds

Meanwhile, back inside the walls..

2001 phil

Our good friend Phil conducts his daily inspection.

2001 - march - 12 - glass houses

Getting started

The first stage in any restoration project is to make a thorough examination of the remains. This is a dual process involving extensive research into the historic value of the site whilst clearing away the debris.

2000 clear brambles

and clearing the site was no small task.

2000 Karen & Roy

The front door to the cottage must be somewhere around here. Surely….

2000 - june - front garden

An extra pair of garden shears might come in handy, do you think?2000 - june - lower glass houses

Luckily the roof was in mint condition, apart from the odd missing tile here and there..

2000 - june back sheds

A glimpse of the past

These pictures, taken in the late 70’s, provide valuable evidence of the main glass houses seen during the latter stage of decline. The Tomato House stands in the foreground with the forcing beds, Melon House, Fig House and Vinery House in receding order.

76 Head gardener's house and glasshouses

The Vinery is quite obviously still in use at this point, but it is not clear as to what is being cultivated.

77 Glasshouses

Attention has been given to clearing some of the path and maintaining the border to a limited extent.

78 The Vine House


Progress plan

A summary of the restoration progress to date


  • Urgent temporary work to cottage to provide basic living / sleeping quarters
  • Install basic services – water, waste, electric
  • Assessment of buildings at greatest risk to loss through decay and neglect
  • Clear debris in immediate vicinity to cottage – expose sample areas of paths
  • Initiate research program – evaluate historic importance – consultation with site manager at “The Lost Gardens of Heligan” project
  • Establish scope for restoration work in agreement with English Heritage and local planning


  • Commence general site clearance and improve living area – combat vermin infestation
  • Prepare temporary locations for recovered plant species
  • Replace entire roof, walls and windows to outbuildings on north side of vinery
  • Research and implement structure planting scheme


  • Clear perimeter walls and prepare old bricks for re-use
  • Acquire specialist training for use of lime mortar
  • Establish herb, soft fruit, ornamental flower, vegetable and other plant zones
  • Complete restoration of north side structures
  • Catalogue and survey remains of Melon House for restoration
  • Establish formal garden areas and lawns
  • Establish and equip wood work shop – recruit craftsman


  • Archaeology study in front woodland area
  • Significant restoration progress with all main perimeter walls
  • Excavation to vinery – reinstate arched base structure
  • Commence restoration of Hot Wall and Melon House program
  • Re-build stone gate surround and underpin


  • Excavate Hot Wall furnaces and record archaeological findings
  • Advance with Melon House and walls – restore well heads
  • Develop borders and forcing beds – cultivate fruit and vegetable zones
  • Expose and record 18C vinery foundations and pits
  • Conduct formal archaeological studies in various zones – from Croome Archive data provided


  • Commence work on link building
  • Rebuild low walls around Fig House
  • Propagate new seeds in end bay of Melon House
  • Repairs to east facing wall and copings
  • Completion of timber and glazing to Melon House
  • Commence restoration of heating tunnels


  • Repair underground water tanks and terrace in front of the Melon House
  • Commence restoration of Fig House
  • Review main garden layout for vegetable plantation program
  • Advance restoration work to south and west facing walls
  • Provide washroom facilities for NT volunteers
  • Re-paint all external timbers to Melon House
  • Excavate and repair land drainage system
  • Re-sculpture lower and upper garden levels


  • Completion of Fig House structure and glazing
  • Prepare vegetable patch for NT use
  • Clear debris and rabbit infestation along the south side of the Hot Wall
  • Advance lower landscape work to include new formal ‘Rose Gardens’
  • Repair and restore existing ‘Gardeners Cottage’ porch
  • Construct and fit new ‘Secret Garden’ gate
  • Revive woodland area and prepare for new shrubs


  • Complete restoration work to North East section of the main walls
  • Construct new boundary wall in South West corner
  • Restore garden building to lower end of the ‘Hot Wall’ (postponed for now)
  • Advance roof construction of the ‘Vinery House’
  • Render ‘Fig House’ wall and conduct internal ground works
  • Excavate tunnel entrance within ‘Fig House’


  • Lay underfloor heating and new floor tiles in the Fig House
  • Complete all electrical and plumbing within the Fig House
  • Excavate foundations along the eastern half of the Vinery House lower wall
  • Conduct internal ground works to the remaining two bays within the Vinery House
  • Complete roof construction of the entire Vinery House
  • Create twelve new vegetable beds within the main garden
  • Plant new fruit trees in the North Eastern orchard and wild flower garden
  • Advance Rose Garden layout and planting program

Ongoing commitments

  • Complete remaining restoration work to perimeter walls
  • Undertake complete rebuild of Orchard House & Tomato House
  • Reinstate main garden area to it’s historic function of vegetable production
  • Collaboration with the NT to provide traditional kitchen garden produce with help from NT volunteers
  • Provide seasonal garden produce for NT visitors
  • Encourage other interested parties to collaborate for educational benefits
  • Reintegrate the gardens into their historic environment
  • Promote use of the Fig House for garden workshop events