Sheffield Park, East Sussex

The National Trust's gardens at Sheffield Park are of international significance for their seasonal colour and variety. However, the extensive surrounding parkland landscape and the survivals of eighteenth-century pleasure grounds are less well-known. Following the recent purchase by the Trust of a substantial part of the original estate, ACTA is preparing a conservation management plan which will be the basis of restoration of the parkland influenced by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton.

Several layers of development were unpicked by a combination of documentary research, tree survey and archaeological survey. A sixteenth-century pattern of a formal landscape within agricultural land and a distant park became one of a mansion set within parkland and 100 acres of pleasure ground in the 1750s. In the following century the landscape succumbed to the Earl of Sheffield's craze for model farming and forestry.


The landscape of exotic conifers and rhododendrons made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is embedded within several phases of parkland.


A good sequence of estate maps and manorial surveys allowed the main features of the landscape to be traced back to the 1560s.


This 1790s drawing of one of the principal lakes and a grove may illustrate work carried out by Capability Brown. Some of the trees in the grove survive today.