The weather is being so kind at the moment that it would have been a terrible shame not to have taken advantage yesterday afternoon. The decision was made to visit Sheffield Park, one of our favourite National Trust gardens. At this time of year it shows off all its splendorous glory!
The word Sheffield, in old English, means sheep clearing and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. In 1538 Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, entertained Henry VIII here. By 1700 the Deer Park had been partially formalised by Lord De La Warr who planted avenues of trees radiating from the house and cleared areas to establish lawns. In 1796 it was sold to John Holroyd, created Baron Sheffield in 1781.
'Capability' Brown, a famous English landscape designer, was commissioned to landscape the garden. He created irregular belts and clumps of trees and cleared informal paths through the woods.
The third Earl, inherited the estate in 1876. One of his first tasks was to establish a cricket field. The Australian XI opened their tour at Sheffield Park between 1884 and 1896. Lord Sheffield's team included W.G. Grace, one of England's all time best cricketers!
During the Second World War the house and garden became the headquarters for a Canadian armoured division and Nissan huts were sited in the garden and woods. Can you imagine being posted to this part of the country! The estate was split up and sold in lots in 1953.
The National Trust purchased approximately 100 acres in 1954. Further acquisitions have increased this to 200 acres much of which are open as formal gardens and lakes for members to enjoy throughout the year.
You can walk all around this lake and bey0nd. At this time of year the gardens are very busy with visitors coming from near and far to enjoy the start of the annual Autumnal show of glorious colours! Many arrive with amazing camera equipment ready to capture some of the beautiful sites. Yesterday, we found some beautiful coloured foliage but need to return next week when the colours will be more developed.
Depending on where the sun is positioned photographs can be taken to reflect the different moods. Here the lake is shown to be framed by numerous trees which provide such a sheltered environment. Not a breath of air seemed to disturb the leaves.
And finally, this picture shows some of the beautiful colours that are bidding their farewell until next year. I love how the foliage leaves us with such a powerful reminder of nature in all its glory!