Cornwall harbours secret rainforest

While many may have been surprised at the discovery of a section of tropical rainforest in Cornwall, gardeners with greenhouses across the UK will have barely raised an eyebrow.

It is thought that the forest was planted some time in the early 1900s by Charles Fox – a traveller who brought back seeds from around the world.

"I was cutting back bushes when I saw the most amazing jungle scene," explained gardener Darren Dickey, who was helping to clear an overgrown hillside at Trebah Gardens.

"Ive been head gardener here for 18 years and didnt know a thing about it.

"Its like something out of a childs fiction novel. Youre standing there and you could be in the middle of a Brazilian jungle."

Greenhouses allow gardeners to grow all manner of tropical plants that wouldnt normally grow easily in the UK climate, but Cornwalls often privileged weather and the fact that no one had disturbed the area for around 100 years allowed the section of exotic palms, chusan and cordyline to flourish.