Date: 
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 11:00

Site of December landslip set to become a stunning waterfall beside the world-famous Biomes

The Eden Project is bursting with energy and spring colour as dedicated teams work together to reopen the global garden after the longest closure in its 20-year history.

A herculean effort across the 30-acre great outdoors and inside the world-famous Biomes means Eden will be safe and ready to warmly welcome its first public visitors in nearly five months next Monday, May 17.

Eden was in the midst of a successful Christmas season when heavy rain caused flooding and landslips at the former clay quarry and it closed to the public on December 20.

Shortly after came the third national lockdown, during which on March 17 the project passed its 20th anniversary of opening.

Over those two decades Eden has welcomed more than 22 million people, including more than 50,000 school visitors a year.  And this week, as teams of horticulturists and landscapers continued a massive facelift, the project said it can hardly wait to see everyone back again.

Interim Chief Executive David Harland said: “Looking across the site now ablaze with colour in peak spring, it feels like the reawakening of a sleeping giant and the rekindling of an incredible team spirit which led to us fully opening for the first time 20 years and two months ago.

“It has been a very long wait in challenging times for everyone. As a project that thrives on bringing people together and creating community, it is wonderfully exciting to think that very soon families will be coming through our doors and enjoying the wonders of the natural world once again.” 

He added: “Five months ago, during a bleak storm, as pumps strained, the side of the pit burst forth with water which had built up underground and it was scarcely imaginable that we would find ourselves reopening.  

“Today, we are a fortnight from completing the work and having the pit back as if nothing had happened, save for the fact that we have used the major repair works to design a magnificent waterfall set against the backdrop of the Rainforest Biome and add a stunning feature to our landscape in due course.”

Getting ready for the big reopening, Eden’s dedicated horticulture team is busy cutting the lawns, weeding, sowing and planting so the gardens look as good as possible. Among the many eye-catching displays, the apple orchard in the middle of the site is bursting with blossom right now.

Over the last five months, landscaping teams have carried out extensive repairs to a section of the main visitor access road and drainage systems, pathways and other hard and soft landscaping and paths which were covered in mud and rubble during the floods and landslips of December 20. 

The Project is reassuring visitors that all areas are safe and ready as Eden reopens.

Si Bellamy, Eden’s Chief Activation Officer, said: “As we near full recovery, we are incredibly grateful for all the support and understanding we’ve received.

“The determination from the whole team to recover as soon as we safely could has been paramount - alongside creating a remarkable new place, in time, from which the water story can emerge. 

“We’re going to show our new landscape when we reopen and point to the future direction we will create. After 20 years of operations we’ll continue to transform our mothership."

A detailed investigation showed that a chain of exceptional events began with persistent and intense rain in December 2020 and resulted in the three landslips and a release of large volumes of floodwater onto the face of the old quarry.

Si Bellamy continued: “We are now incredibly excited that we will be welcoming visitors back along the newly repaired road.

“It has been a total, inspirational team effort supported by many of the original specialists who designed and constructed Eden at the turn of the millennium.  Our brilliant engineers and construction crews will remain on site to complete the repair.”

He added: “The skills of geotechnical experts, civil engineers, surveyors, project managers and specialist water pumping teams have been crucial to delivering such a rapid transformation.

“Eden now looks different in the areas of the landslips and our new designs for the waterfall are progressing.  We want to tell the story of water in a new and compelling way for our visitors.”

Eden is continuing to limit guest numbers and has timed ticketing so that social distancing can be maintained with confidence.  Tickets must be pre-booked online through www.edenproject.com.

Ends