Voices of the Lost Gardens - Giving Nature a Voice

  • 18th Jun 2022

The brainchild of audio producer Annabel Ross - creator of  Messages from the Wild, these bite-sized interviews with animals and plants, are a slightly different approach to learning more about them, and to understanding their perspective on their environment. Each creature and plant will be given a voice by a well-known personality, with the line-up including Dame Judy Dench, Jimmy Doherty, Adam Henson and Hannah Stitfall.

Visitors are invited to step into a shepherd hut situated near our Wildlife Hide. Once inside, they are to take a seat, shut the curtains, get comfy and listen to the voices from The Lost Gardens. What will you learn today, and which will be your favourite?

These brief “conversations” are intended to be educational, as well as entertaining and amusing. They are aimed at both adults and children as a way of providing a new perspective on wildlife, in the hope that they will feel more knowledgeable, and in turn, more respectful towards wildlife in general. There is something about listening to these recordings with animals and plants in the “first person” that grabs the attention of listeners and somehow, also helps them to retain the information more easily, especially the funny bits!

Adam Henson lends his voice to the Exmoor Pony and North Devon Bullock "I am delighted to have been asked to be part of Heligan’s exciting new project. Voices of The Lost Gardens is a fantastic way for people to find out a little more about some truly special species we have here in the UK, from heritage breed farm animals to small, but mighty insects. I am excited to have been tasked with being the voice of two important breeds, both specific to the South West - the Red Ruby Devon Cow and the much-loved Exmoor pony, and look forward to introducing them to a whole new audience.”

Meanwhile Jimmy Doherty brings the Bumble Bee and Berkshire Pig to life "I jumped at the chance to be part of Heligan’s ‘Voices of the Lost Gardens’. Not only was it fun, but I am also passionate about inspiring others to help protect our insects, and in particular, bees, and I think this is a really lovely, and different way to engage with wider audience. The buff-tailed bumblebees is just one of over 20 different species of bumblebee here in the UK, and like its cousins its numbers are in decline. Anything we can do to raise awareness of the importance of bees is a great thing - we humans would be in serious trouble without them."

These interviews, with some of nature’s most important creatures, scaling from tallest to tiniest, underground, and overground dwellers, to nocturnal and hibernating species, will introduce our listeners to a secret life and often hidden perspective of what lives around us, and highlighting the worrying decline in many of these species. All the characters have expertise, skills, jobs and stories to share that will intrigue and capture the imagination of listeners and change their relationship with them. They are all asked just the one same question "If you had a message for us, what would it be?” We are sure these messages will stay with those that listen and help form a new or strengthened connection with the wild.

 Laura Chesterfield, Head of Garden of Experience, has bought this project to life says “We are excited to bring something unique to Heligan this summer - a brand new experience set to be both educational and entertaining for all ages, and a chance for our visitors to connect with nature in a unique way.

"The "Voices of the Lost Gardens" is a project that the team have been working hard on, and are extremely passionate about, and we are thrilled that so many brilliant people have been willing to contribute and to help us bring our vision to life. We are looking forward to hearing what our visitors think of the conversations, and hope those that are able to, return through the seasons, as more “Voices” and conversations are introduced."

The Voices of the Lost Gardens will feature at The Gardens for the next 12 months, with a new quartet of characters introduced as the season turns. 

Register for updates

Sign up for the latest news from The Lost Gardens of Heligan