As I’m getting older I am appreciating the changes in seasons more. And one of the best places to enjoy autumn is, in my opinion, Sheffield Park and Gardens, near Fletching. It is also one of my favourite National Trust places at any time of year. We first went to see the autumnal colour two years ago and we weren’t disappointed, so this year I packed my ‘proper’ camera and off we went.
We went without a map or sat nav for the first time, which was a mistake. An emergency stop to take a turning that turned out to be the wrong one is never good. But, we got there and the mistakes are a learning curve that we won’t repeat again.
When you get into the gardens you can roam free where you like, most of the paths are part of a larger circle and you tend to end up somewhere you recognise fairly quickly.
The leaves on the trees were just starting to turn when we were there, with some of the trees a fabulous blend of reds, greens and yellows. I got very excited to see a tree with red ‘helicopters’ which looked fabulous. The views across the series of lakes are stunning at any time of year, but when you add in the colours of autumn it is fabulous. Coupled with still water for reflections it’s a photographer’s dream.
You could happily spend a good half day walking the various paths, enjoying the views from the famous cricket pitch (if you’re interested, WG Grace once played there against an Australian touring side) over to the house, and over all the lakes and bridges. But if you don’t have that long, 90 minutes is plenty to get a taste of the beauty. We managed to get most of the way round with a walking two-year-old in about two hours, including a rest on the cricket pitch and several tree climbs. There’s an added incentive to visit midweek as the waterfall works on Tuesdays and Fridays. And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there’s a woodland play trail which is great for the kids (and grown ups), with a huge swing, balancing beams and obstacle course.
The view to the house from the cricket ground