The thirty year jungle...in a Sheffield back garden

A Sheffield man with a fear of flying has spent more than 30 years transforming a suburban English garden into a jungle.

Dr Simon Olpin, 69, has been passionate about nature since he was a child but due to his phobia, he has never been able to travel the world and see any jungles.

But when the clinical biologist moved to Millhouses in 1987, he decided to start his own labour of love.

He said the garden was "pretty much a blank canvas" when they moved in, but after planting his first tree from a "small pot'" it slowly evolved.

Mr Olpin standing next to one of the first trees he planted Credit: Simon Olpin

Mr Olpin's collection features over 100 plants from all over the world, including giant bamboos and Chinese palms.

He said: "It's lovely to have a tropical or semi-tropical garden on my doorstep.

"To be able to walk out of your back door through palms and bamboos and tall eucalyptus creates to me my own little jungle."

The garden, which is about 200ft long, features hundreds of exotic trees and plants Credit: ITV Calendar

"I started to plant the tall tree ferns, the bamboos, the Chinese windmill plants, in order to to recreate what I thought I'd probably never see because of my fear of flying.

"So I was looking to the jungles of Borneo and Southeast Asia and South America."

The father of three passed on his passion for the wild to his children, saying they have grown up loving the adventure which came from having a jungle in the back garden.

Most of the taller trees are older than his three children, Jay, 21, Lily, 25, and Holly, 28, who grew up believing tigers roamed their garden and that fairies left them letters penned on tree paper.

The garden was a magical place for my entire family. Walking through it is a bit of an adventure. The children use to find notes on bamboo leaves which fairies would leave for them in tiny pencil.

Simon Olpin

Dr Olpin has gone as far as to add some secret surprises throughout the dense paradise, including a model crocodile.

"Crocodiles will be found on the edges of jungles...but mine was found in Huddersfield. In a large warehouse nicely painted by a Chines workman!"