Postcard: Cornwall

One of Britain's most popular tourist stops is ... a set of domes built in a clay pit? A look at England's burgeoning romance with everything green

Matt Cardy / Getty

People walk in the biosphere at the WOMAD - The Eden Session 2004 evening of music and dance at The Eden Project, St. Austell on August 27, 2004 in Cornwall, England.

In the late 1990s, Tim Smit--an archaeologist turned pop-music producer--decided to build a new Eden. The Dutch-born Englishman envisioned a grand environmental-education park in the depressed southwestern English county of Cornwall--with the world's biggest greenhouses as its centerpiece. All he needed was the money. Smit turned to private funders and gave them a professional pitch. "I told them, 'We are going to build the Eighth Wonder of the World in a clay pit west of Cornwall, it's going to be wonderful, and you'll want to be a part of it,'" he says. "'Also, we have no business plan.'" Amazingly, the line...

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