West Sussex Journals

Wonderful Wakehurst Place

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An April 2007 trip to West Sussex by MichaelJM

Red Rhododendrons overlooking prehistoric valley Photo, More Photos
Quote: Wakehurst Place is a cracking garden estate managed by Kew Gardens and owned by the National Trust. A good full day out!

Wonderful Wakehurst Place

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

The mighty Redwood Photo, West Sussex, England
Quote:
Kew Gardens, who manage the Wakehurst Estate, have established the Millennium Seed bank and plan to store 24,200 different species of plants from across the world, by the year 2010. To date, they are storing almost 12,500 different species, representing 126 countries with over 923 million seeds. Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot envision 923 million seeds!On route to the seed bank are a group of rare sheep which is not a big deal, but they had just lambed and you really can’t beat the sight of frolicking lambs seeking out their mother ewe for a mid-morning feed.The multitude of rhododendrons are a sight for sore eyes and although we were a bit early in the season, to catch ...Read More

Wakehurst's bird life

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Attraction

How pretty am I! Photo,
Quote:
Immediately as you enter the complex’s visitor center, the emphasis is on wildlife. There are a couple of videos playing on a continual loop: one relating to life in a badger sett, and the other was focussed on a bird’s nest, unfortunately there was no activity whatsoever.Wakehurst Place Gardens and the Loder Valley Reserve (access to this is limited to numbers and you need to book in advance to ensure a viewing) cover almost 500 acres and I think that you’ll be almost guaranteed a viewing of several species of bird. Surprisingly, birds in the gardens are really very tame and as long as you don’t approach them like a bull in a china shop you’ll be able to get up really close. As we wandered ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2007

The Mansion House

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Attraction

Classic stained glass Photo,
Quote:
The Wakehurst Palace Mansion is open for viewing and its main raison d’etre is as an exhibition center and it’s extensively used by educationalists. There’s a permanent exhibition on the history and the natural history of the Wakehurst estate and a number of temporary displays merged with small craft exhibits. However, there is enough of the house to see and enjoy for its architectural beauty.The chapel, at the time of our visit, was resplendent with the paintings of junior school children with the powerful images of the arched stained glass window dancing colors across the length of the room. The chapel was commissioned by Lady Downshire in the 1870s in memory of her son’s wife and all the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 11, 2007

The Water Gardens

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Attraction

A mini waterfall Photo,
Quote:
Wakehurst has superb and still-developing water gardens. Indeed, my son said that he saw great changes in the development since he last visited six months ago. So this is an ever-changing landscape that will bear frequent visits. The landscaping of this area is really clever because, although it doesn’t cover a large area, the sense of space and distance is emphasized by the landscape’s architect to give an amazing sense of perspective. The smallest of streams takes on the appearance of a larger water-flow by the way the bank are constructed and the way the water meanders, almost to infinity, under bridges until it can only be seen in the mind’s eye. Now I’m not a connoisseur of plants, alt...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2007

Wakehurst and its history

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Attraction

Red Rhododendrons overlooking prehistoric valley Photo,
Quote:
Wakehurst Place was acquired by the National Trust in 1964 and immediately handed over to the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) who both administer and maintain the 500 acres in the Wakehurst grounds. The estate has existed as an entity since Norman times but has a history of a settlement going right back to early man and the Iron Age. It was in the early part of the 13th century when William de Wakehurst bought 40 acres of land from Phillip de Crauele. In 1454, two brothers from the Culpeper family, another wealthy local family, abducted and married two Wakehurst daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth, and eventually the two couples moved into the house at Wakehurst and, despite their best efforts, the house be...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 11, 2007

About the Writer

MichaelJM

MichaelJM
Nottingham, England