Sheffield Park and Garden is a large landscape garden in Sussex, owned by the National Trust. There’s also a Sheffield Park House, situated at the edge of the property, but that’s still privetely owned and not open to the public. The park is a wonderful experience at all times of the year, with winding paths through parkland and forest areas, featuring lakes with waterlilies, small waterfalls and bridges. There are bushes, ferns, flowers and most prominently a wide variation of trees, including many species which have been specifically selected for their beautiful autumn colours. We visited Sheffield Park last weekend and were delighted to find the landscape bursting with seasonal splendour!
The estate of Sheffield Park has a long history, and is apparently even mentioned in the Doomsday Book (according to this Wikipedia article, which also tells us that Henry VIII visited the place in 1538).
In the late 1700s, the well renowned landscape architecht ‘Capability’ Brown (whose real first name was Lancelot) was commissioned to develop the grounds. Two of the five lakes at Sheffield Park are from his time, as are parts of the general layout of the paths and vistas, and several old oak trees.
Much of what we see today at Sheffield Park is however the results of work done during the early 20th Century, when a man called Arthur Gilstrap Soames was owner of the estate. Soames had a passionate interest in plants and gardening, and brought in many of the trees that make Sheffield Park such a special place for autumn colours, as well as an abundance of spring flowering shrubs, bushes and trees such as rhododenrons, azaleas and camelias.
We’ve visited Sheffield Park and Garden a couple of times before, once in spring and once in late October, and the place has offered a fantastic experience each time. The estate is so large that we’ve not been able to explore all areas yet, and in fact, I’ve only just now realised that the ‘park’ which we’ve been exploring on each visit is actually what they call ‘garden’, while the actual ‘park’ part of the name mainly refers to the open parkland that makes up the western parts of the estate.
Whether you decide to go into the garden or parkland, or the forest areas which are also part of this glorius place, you will certainly experience a great deal of sensory stimulation (sights, sounds, scents, tactile textures and movement), and there are of course ample opportunities for sensory rich learning experiences!
One of Penguin’s favourite features at Sheffield Park and Garden is the stepped waterfall (or ‘cascade’) seen here. On our most recent visit, the water level in the lakes was high and the amount of water coming down the cascade was much greater than normally. The picture on the right above is from October last year, showing the difference!
All the photos below were taken on our latest visit, last weekend, so these give you a good idea of what autumnal splendour you can expect to experience at Sheffield park if you make a visit during the next week or so, or around October time any other year.
A few more photos taken around the Ten Foot Pond…
…and a few from around the Middle Lake:
While the mirror-like surfaces of the lakes are perhaps the most obviously photogenic areas, the beauty of autumn is to be found all over the estate and in all different sizes, from tiny mushrooms to giant Redwoods…
We also ventured into Walk Wood, briefly, and he forest offered us a different sensory landscape, with a softer floor, more muted colours, deeper shadows, the scents of conifers, fungi, decomposing wood and leaves.
If you’re planning a visit, make sure to check their website for any updates about busy times or weather conditions etc. At the moment, there is a warning about occassional waiting times for parking spaces, due to recent rainy weather making the overflow parking areas unusable. For this and for more information about Sheffield Park and Garden, which is vary much worth a visit, go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden (link opens in new window).
Thank you for reading! Do you have any favourite places to visit in the autumn? Maybe you’ve been to Sheffield Park and Garden? Please share with us in the comments below, and any other comments, questions or reflections on this post are of course always welcome too x
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