Perhaps the best known of the Island's glens, Glen Helen is on the western side of the Island, north of Ballacraine on the famous TT course.
The glen was created in the 1860s by a consortium of Manx businessmen interested in arboriculture. They laid its paths, carried out extensive planting of trees and ornamental shrubs, constructed river bridges and opened the place to the public in 1867.
The attractive name Glen Helen was likely chosen from Greek myth to reflect the beauty of the location. The romantic myth that the glen was created by Mr A F Marsden who planted over a million trees and named it after his daughter is incorrect. Mr Marsden was deceased at the time, had 4 daughters none of whom were named Helen and a planting of that scale would represent the implausibility of 3.57 trees per square yard!
Today a variety of mature and impressive trees including sequoia, thuja, spruces, Douglas fir, oak, sycamore and beech can be observed. Paths traverse the glen alongside the rivers Neb and Blaber. Three quarters of a mile into the glen you will reach the dramatic Rhenass waterfall.
The glen has a children's play area and toilet facilities (including disabled) and refreshments are available from either the nearby hotel or restaurant. There is good reasonable access for the disabled and ample parking. Access is by car or bus.
The glen is managed by the Forestry Amenity and Lands Directorate of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.