CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

Autumn’s honeyed light

PUBLISHED: 16:23 24 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:46 20 February 2013

Atumn's honeyed Light

Atumn's honeyed Light

A mixture of modern sculpture and temples set against an autumnal backdrop await visitors to Bignor Park House. Leigh Clapp tells us what to expect...

Sussex Life


THE new season's bonfire of colour adds a special shimmer to the 11 acres of garden at Bignor Park House near Petworth. This is the 60th year it has been open to the public and visitors are offered a woodland walk, a patarre Dutch garden, sculpture and displays of decorative gourds.



Subscribe to Sussex Life Now


01858 438832




You are assured of a warm welcome from Lord and Lady Mersey. "I think it is the setting and views of the South Downs that make Bignor Park, says Lady Mersey. "I want people to enjoy the views and garden, to get inspiration or relax on one of the many seats.
"Spending time to chat with visitors is a pleasure, people are so friendly. I like to make people smile and to have surprises for children like the secret wooden house or the contemporary sculptures."


A look at the past
Originally part of the Arundel Estate, the Dukes of Norfolk used the grounds of the park to fatten their deer. The only remaining parts of the first small house are two Coad stone pinnacles at the west end of the walled garden.


In the early 19th century, John Hawkins, a Cornish tin miner, bought the estate as an addition to his main property at Trewithen, and built the house in the 1820s using architect Henry Harrison.


Hawkins had an interest in horticulture, inspired by doing the grand tour as well as visits further afield to the Greek Islands. He bought some marbles, called steles, from Samothrace and they can be seen in a small pavilion at the east end of the formal garden.


This interest in antiquities may have contributed to Hawkins involvement with the excavation of the nearby Roman Villa, which was discovered by farmer George Tupper in1812 and is still owned and run by the Tupper family. In 1926 Lord Mersey's grandfather bought Bignor Park with his parents taking over in 1959.


Through the garden gate


An expanse of undulating landscape greets you as you enter the garden. Contemporary seagull sculptures by Geoffrey Stinton provide unusual focal points and then the eye is drawn to a distant temple proudly standing on a mound. It was built in1992 to commemorate Lord Mersey's mother's 80th birthday and in spring is surrounded by a sea of daffodils. Here there is a woodland of cedars, hickory, sorbus, camellias and rhododendrons and from the far end a beautiful view of the Downs with Chanctonbury Ring.




0 comments

More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Steeped in history and tradition, this East Sussex town is the perfect place to discover your inner rebel

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ideally situated for commuting to London and Brighton, this West Sussex town offers the perfect blend of rural and urban living

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

A rich local history, thriving annual festivals and a bounty of amenities make this East Sussex town hard to top

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

This newly renovated Georgian townhouse in Worthing offers uninterrupted views over the sea, combined with designs for the modern family

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A leading property agent is going back to his roots after a 32-year career by joining one of the UK’s foremost property search companies covering Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex East Sussex and Kent.

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Bearing links to some of the county’s famous smugglers, Alfriston is a small village with a lot of history – including an impressive ‘cathedral’

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Thursday, August 23, 2018

As well as being practical, tiles can add class, colour and style to your home. With such spectacular choice, you might feel like a kid in a sweet shop, so many delicious options. Luxury bathroom, kitchen and tile experts Sussex Plumbing Supplies (SPS) have selected the top tile styles and tips to help you make the right choice for your space.

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Head to these South Downs villages for a chance to experience modern amenities and stunning, picturesque views

Read more
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fantastic rail links, picturesque views and community spirit make this small Sussex village an ideal place to call home

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Monday, June 25, 2018

Community lies at the very heart of this Sussex parish, which was once home to Rudyard Kipling

Read more
Friday, June 1, 2018

The bathroom is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house yet in most cases it is one of the smallest. The growing popularity of en suites, plus the need for additional downstairs WCs, mean that space-saving solutions are increasingly in demand

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Property Search