East Sussex is home to a number of fine examples of landscape gardening and innovative landscape architecture. Battling with a slowly encroaching London, Sussex is doing a very good job at maintaining and preserving both historical gardens and landscapes, as well as more allowing modern expressions of landscape architecture to flourish. In this article we briefly explore a few of these in and around the South East of England that are open to the public.
For those with an interest in history as well as landscape gardening, Waltham Abbey Gardens is the perfect choice. Combining the beautiful remains of the last Abbey to be dissolved by Henry VIII – also reputed to be the site of King Harold Godwinson’s grave, killed in the battle of 1066 by William the Conqueror’s army – with beautiful gardens featuring a Dragonfly Sanctuary. The gardens provide the opportunity to enjoy a number of walks around the many laced pools and larger waterbodies – a haven for many species of birds.
If your taste requires landscape gardening on a grander scale, then you might enjoy a trip to Wickham Place Farm. Featuring 14 acres of beautiful wildlife, including mixed woodland, and a famous 250ft long wall covered in Wisteria, the gardens are a delight for those preferring a more rustic, grand approach to landscape architecture. The site also attracts a large number of different species of birds for the nature lover as well.
RHS Garden Hyde Hall is the perfect spot for those wishing to view examples of landscape gardening on a very large scale. With an estate of 360 acres full of wildlife, actively maintained gardens as well as farmland, meadows, and woodland, this location is perfect for those hoping to lose themselves. Hyde Hall is also a good example of the way in which landscapes can be maintained over larger areas, where subtle differences in management create varying effects to the landscape.
For those with a culinary interest, Audely End House & Gardens offers a fine display of landscape gardening, as well as offering visitors a chance to see a well-kept Victorian Kitchen Garden in working order. The estate, dating back to 1790 also boasts a beautiful lake, water-meadows, and a 17ft long vine house.