Before And After: The Heligan Path

Jackie gathering flowers

On our third morning in Downton, as, in order to pick spring flowers, Jackie walked through the undergrowth onto what is now the Weeping Birch Bed, little did we know that a few inches to her right we would find the remnants of a very old path. In the distance, above her head, can be seen the collapsed wooden arch that we replaced with a metal one.

This is the subject of today’s before and after section, which I began after pasting a few more prints into the album.

Path overgrown

Can you see the path? On 21st May 2014, the tree peony was growing on the edge of it.

Path clearance intermediate stage

By the end of the day the serpentine track was beginning to emerge.

Path cleared 1Path cleared 3

Further progress was made on 22nd. Note the mosquito-breeding sunken wheelbarrow pond that has been removed by 20th October 2015.

Jackie riddling

At one time this path contained gravel. By 25th, Jackie was painstakingly riddling a little out of the soil, and we bought bags more to top it up.

Jackie and Sheila 2

It was in a fit condition for Sheila to be guided along it on 9th August,

The Heligan Path

and quite established by 20th October 2015.

This afternoon I watched the televised semi-final of the Rugby World Cup between New Zealand and South Africa.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, with Jackie’s superb piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), carrots, cabbage, mange touts, and mashed potato and swede; followed by deep apple pie with just the right amount of cinnamon and cloves, and custard. I drank Doom Bar and The Cook drank Hoegaarden.


  1. Only a cryptic crossword creator would ever think of naming a garden path after Lowarth Helygen. And with my Goodman Branch emanating from Cornwall it’s a garden path I would happily be led up!

  2. Grand work on the path! Looks gorgeous.
    I couldn’t watch the match …. to close for too long! I kept peeking in though and fairly pleased with the outcome. 🙂

  3. Excellent documentation of the path’s discovery and reinstatement. I’m certain it’s taken on a much more pleasant and welcoming form that it’s ever known. Thanks to the Head Gardener and her trusty paparazzi/apprentice gardener.

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