Two spectacular parkland gardens in Kirdford open to visitors

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Two major gardens, set around large country houses in Kirdford, are opening in support of National Garden Scheme Charities.

The National Garden Scheme have donated more than £70 million to their beneficiary charities, and in 2023 made donations of over £3.4 million.

Founded in 1927 to support district nurses, they are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK Beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

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Whithurst Park Kirdford.Whithurst Park Kirdford.
Whithurst Park Kirdford.

Whithurst Park Estate is set within beautiful parklands close to the village of Kirdford.

The Jacobean style house (not open) is reached via a long driveway stretching from the modern lodge house through carefully managed meadows and mature trees.

The house looks out across lush lawns to a beautiful 4acre lake. The 13year old walled kitchen garden has many espaliered fruit trees, herb beds, vegetable beds, flower borders and cutting beds.

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There is central greenhouse and a potting shed as well as interesting support buildings. An extensive compost area is placed close to beehives.

The garden is cultivated on sustainability through permaculture principles. Plants will be on sale in the courtyard at the front of house and home-made teas available on the lawn adjacent to the courtyard. There are open lawns around the walled garden and house and visitors where visitors are welcome to have a picnic.

There are also footpaths around the woodlands surrounding the house and lake. There is wheelchair access via a ramp over 10cm step onto garden paths.

Whithurst Park Kirdford, Billingshurst RH14 0JW is open for the National Garden Scheme on Sunday, July 7 10am-5pm) Admission £5, children free. Home-made teas. Book online on the National Garden Scheme website https://ngs.org.uk or pay on the day.

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The garden's design is based on an C18 concept of ferme ornee or ornamental farm with a large lake in a parkland style setting at the front of the house and more formal gardens behind with walks and vistas stretching out into the fields and woodlands.

The garden is now reaching maturity as reflected in the many 12ft yew hedges which divide it into a number of formal and informal areas planted with carefully chosen colour themes and unusual plants.

The long avenues are quite a feature, with some trained as hedges, pleached allees, hedges on stilts and. Others have been planted in a more natural style such as the tulip tree avenue and hundreds of metres of Holm oaks planted through new woodlands, and underplanted with mahonia, which lead up to a grand grass amphitheatre.

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To reflect the history of the village there is fruit planted in every area of the garden including many heritage and unusual varieties and a ¾ acre fruit and vegetable garden with flowers for cutting. Whilst the garden has been designed for visual pleasure and impact it is above all a family garden with a strong feeling of individuality and spirit of place.

Recent developments include the yew cloisters, opening up a walk around a second lake and cutting rides through the woodland.

Parsonage Farm Kirdford, near Billingshurst RH14 0NH is open for the National Garden Scheme on Friday, June 21 and Sunday, September 8 (2pm-6pm). Admission £8, children free. Pay on the day. Home-made teas (cash only). Refreshments in aid of The Jane Lemon Foundation.

Other West Sussex National Garden Scheme gardens opening in late June and July.

Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd June (2pm-5pm)

Sunday, June 23 (2pm-4.30pm)

Sunday, June 23 (2pm-5pm)

Wednesday, June 26 with Nightingale House (10.30am-5pm)

Wednesday, June 26 with Brambletye (10.30am-5pm)

Friday 28th and Saturday 29th June (2pm-5pm)

Saturday, June 29, pre-booking essential (11am-4pm)

Sunday, June 30 and every Thursday (10am-5pm)

Sunday, June 30 (10am-4pm)

Sunday, June 30 (11am-4pm)

Tuesday 2nd and Saturday 6th July (2pm-5pm)

Wednesday 3rd and Sunday 7th July (1pm-5pm)

Wednesday, July 3 with Nightingale House (10.30am-5pm)

Wednesday, July 3 with Brambletye (10.30am-5pm)

Saturday, July 6 (4pm-8pm)

Saturday, July 6 (10am-6pm).

Saturday, July 6 (10am-3pm)

Wednesday 10th, 17th and 24th July (2pm-5pm).

Saturday, July 13 (11am-5pm)

Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July (10am-4pm)

Sunday, July 21 (2pm-6pm)

Sunday, July 21 (11am-4pm)

Sunday, July 21 (2pm- 4.30pm)

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Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th July with Thakeham Place Farm (2pm-5pm)

Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th July with Thakeham Place Farm (2pm-5pm)

To learn more about the National Garden Scheme, discover your perfect garden or find out how to open your own garden, visit ngs.org.uk, download the National Garden Scheme app or purchase the National Garden Scheme’s Garden Visitor’s Handbook, which is published annually and available via ngs.org.uk/shop and at all good book retailers.

Direct links to West and East Sussex NGS gardens

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