Sheffield Park is a National Trust property, in East Sussex in between Haywards Heath and Uckfield. It’s famous for its landscape gardens, parklands, and amazing autumn colours.
The history of Sheffield Park
The estate here dates back to the Domesday Book and was later given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother. Centuries after that, Henry VIII stayed here but the estate really started to take shape as we know it in 1769, when it was acquired by John Holroyd who became Baron Sheffield.
He redesigned the house in Gothic style and employed the services of the famous Capability Brown to work on the gardens.
It’s thought another famous garden designer, Humphry Repton, also did some work here. From that point forward the grounds steadily evolved with the addition of lakes and many exotic and native plants.
Improvements by subsequent owners continued until troops were stationed at the house in WWII. Unfortunately, despite attempts to repair the house after the war, it was sold in 1953 and then acquired by the National Trust in 1954. The house is now divided into super expensive apartments.
What to see
Today the gardens are famous for their lakes, bluebells, rhododendron displays, and autumn colours and they have a year-round schedule of events. The main gardens include a series of lakes and bridges. There is a free map available at the entrance but it’s easy to find your way around the various paths.
It’s also great for those with small children and pushchairs and dogs (on a lead) are welcome. Look out for the Living Museum signs that tell you about some of the more exotic and interesting plants and trees, or just enjoy stunning scenery and tranquility.
There is also Walk Wood (which closes in winter- check website for opening times), a relatively new area of the grounds but one which has been found to have quite a lot of historical significance for the garden with forgotten plants and species. In it, you’ll also find natural sculptures by local artist, Keith Pettit, designed to help tell the story of the woodland.
Finally, there’s a large area of parkland with different walks for the more ambitious. This area also has a natural woodland play trail and the parkland is free to visit. Again, dogs (on a lead) are welcome but you may meet some livestock. Look out for an area called Skyglade which has various sculptures in a copse of trees. The wooden sculptures are placed at compass points.