Tuesday, 18 January 2022

"Worth"while

 Another of those "I've only got a couple of hours spare, but want to go out" type trips from earlier this month when the computer was out of action. Not wanting to go too far this time we travelled over to Crawley which is our nearest big town. We rarely go over that way, but I discovered last year that it has a selection of parks and green spaces tucked away in amongst all the "new town" development which sprung up to take the London overspill post WWII. This time we headed for Worth Park Gardens.

Originally the area was part of the ancient Worth forest. People have lived here since at least Saxon times and and for many centuries it served as a deer hunting ground. By the 1800s the land was in the possession of the Montefiore family who had a large house [called Milton Mount] and parkland built in the estate. By the late 19th century it was decided that the gardens were in need of a revamp and the then famous Victorian garden designers and terracotta manufacturers, James Pulham and son, were chosen to draw up the design and carry out the work. The house functioned as a girls' boarding school from 1920 until it closed in 1960 when it was demolished and replaced by a large block of flats. Thankfully the grounds were retained and nowadays a set of very dedicated volunteers maintain them beautifully.

To give you an idea of the former grandeur of the property this is the stable block which now houses the visitor centre. In front of it stands the "Timeline Totem" carved by Simon Groves in 2016 using a storm damaged tree. It visually records the history of the area.






As I hope you can tell from the photos below the gardens look splendid. Back in 1884 when it was all remodelled ideas were still heavily influenced by the Grand Tours people had undertaken.  A naturalistic looking setting which would offset the many plants [particularly alpine and ferns] which the travellers had brought back with them was desired so Pulhams became known for the creation of artificial caves, grottos, islets and follies in their work. They had won medals at the 1851 Great Exhibition and were known nationally. Examples from them grace both Sandringham and Buckingham Palace. Many of the original features in this park are now Grade II listed. The rockery and the rock standing in the middle of the lake [the tiny yew on it is 120 years old] are made from Pulhamite. This is an artificial rock that the company were famous for and used in many of their garden structures. It was a type of cement which was poured over mounds of broken brick and rubble. When it set hard stonemasons would carve it and if you didn't know that it was made in this way I don't think you'd realise as it's very convincing.












If it looks this good on a Sunday in January then I look forwards to paying it another visit later on in the year. With free parking and entry and a small cafe it has all bases covered.

Arilx

 


8 comments:

  1. That looks wonderful. The rich really knew how to spend their money back in the day! xxx

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    1. It's fascinating the choices they made. I guess the equivalent is now seen in places like Dubai where they spend all their money. Arilx

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  2. That totem tree is amazing. Looks a wonderful place to visit again

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    1. If I go back in a different season I shall post about it here. Arilx

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  3. Replies
    1. It's impressive considering these days it's slap bang in the middle of a housing estate. Arilx

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  4. I like the way you explore places and find some gems.

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  5. It comes from a determination to enjoy a full and rich life on a shoestring budget. I decided to be a tourist at home rather than just when I'm away. Arilx

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Just chillin'

This view just made me smile. Seen in London on a warm sunny day. Have a great weekend everyone. Arilx