Fiery hues above and below this Autumn

The National Trust has predicted the best displays of autumn colour in East Sussex.

This summer was the ninth hottest and seventh sunniest since records began. According to Mike Buffin, the National Trust’s gardens and parks adviser and author, this means we are set to see dazzling displays.

Mike said: “I predict autumn colour this year has the potential to be the best we’ve seen for many years. This is based on a number of factors: a long, hot summer, below average rainfall and recent cool nights which make the trees and shrubs more stressed and therefore lose their leaves quicker.”

Sheffield Park and Garden and Bateman’s top the poll as must-visit spots for those wanting to revel in East Sussex’s autumn’s jewel shades. Well known for its blaze of spectacular colour in autumn, Sheffield Park’s hues are doubled in the lake’s reflections. A magical blend of water and landscape results in spectacularly fiery displays above and below. Head gardener Andy Jesson recommends visitors look out for the Nyssa sylvatica ‘Sheffield Park’ tree, worth seeing before the end of September, as well as the Taxodium distichum (swamp cypress) and the vast collection of maples throughout the garden.

Bateman’s, family home of Rudyard Kipling, is renowned for its orchard which turns vibrant shades of red, green and russet as apples and pears ripen. Head gardener, Len Bernamont, recommends the wild garden’s Amelanchiers, Azaleas, Liquidamber and the Katsura tree ‘Cercidiphyllum japonicum’ with leaves that smell like toffee apples. Don’t miss giant rosehips on the rugosa roses, a bumper blackberry crop on the estate walks and sloes, ready after the first frost.

Mike Buffin advises to visit soon: “We expect autumn colours earlier this year as we’re already starting to see vibrant tints in hedgerows. With autumn colour starting mid October we expect colours to fade and not drag on into November as in previous years. I recommend getting down to see our dazzling displays soon. If the change from summer to autumn, and the onset of winter dormancy, is more pronounced, then colours will be fantastic. As forecasters are hedging bets on whether we’ll have an Indian summer, this could allow all the right conditions to fall into place and trigger a spectacular autumnal display.”