This picture shows the beautiful church of St Leonard in South Stoke village, near Arundel, West Sussex.. It was recorded in the Domesday Book – a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror – when the village was named as “Stoches”.
To find the church head for Arundel then travel down Mill Road until the road ends in a t-junction. Turn left, following the signpost to South Stoke. Go beyond the entrance to the farm and turn left with the road – the gate to the church is down a (signposted) short pathway to the right, about one hundred yards further on. Well worth finding!
South Stoke is about a half hour drive from Steyning and close to the South Downs.
You can see the lagoon just beyond the footpath – this beautiful, coastal nature reserve is one of Lancing's hidden treasures, situated a short stroll along Lancing seafront, between Beach Green and Shoreham Beach.
As seasons change throughout the year, you will discover a rich diversity of birds that rest, migrate and reside here. Watch the Little Egret wading through the shallow waters with its elegant, crested plumage, listen to the haunting cry of the Oyster Catcher or simply sit and watch the Swans as they glide serenely by.
All around the banks of this saline lagoon, you can enjoy the colourful plants and flowers that thrive in shingle and coastal grassland. Rabbits run free from the banked bracken and bats fly silently when the sun has set.
The magnificent landscaped gardens at Sheffield Park are especially popular in autumn.
‘Capability’ Brown designed the wonderful layout in the eighteenth century. It was developed further in the early years of the 20th century by its owner, Arthur G Soames. The centrepiece is the original four lakes.
The gardens are lovely throughout the year. You’ll find dramatic shows of daffodils and bluebells in spring. The rhododendrons, azaleas and stream garden are spectacular in early summer. Autumn brings stunning colours from the many rare trees and shrubs …perhaps the best time to visit?
Woods Mill has lots of wildlife with coppiced woodland, meadows and a reed-fringed lake. There is an all-weather path around the reserve and boardwalk across lake and reed bed. There is also a hide for birdwatching, and a wildlife garden.
The reserve is the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust and an environmental education centre, with lots of events and courses throughout the year. As this is an educational reserve no dogs are permitted.
in the late 1800’s, Ludwig Messel, a member of a German Jewish family, settled in England and bought the Nymans estate. This had a house with 600 acres overlooking the picturesque High Weald of Sussex.
He set about creating the estate into a place for family life and entertainment. He developed an Arts and Crafts-inspired garden room. This had topiary features which contrasted with new plants from temperate zones around the world. His son Colonel Leonard Messel built the picturesque stone manor in 1915. He and his wife Maud extended the garden and subscribed to seed collecting expeditions in the Himalayas and South America.
The garden reached a peak in the 1930s and was regularly opened to the public. In 1947 there was a disastrous fire in the house, which now survives as a garden ruin. The house was partially rebuilt and became the home of Leonard Messel’s daughter. At Leonard Messel’s death in 1953 it was willed to the National Trust with 275 acres of woodland.
The gardens have both vibrantly colourful summer borders and tranquil ancient woodlands. There are constantly evolving planting designs and a rare and unusual plant collection.
You can eat at their cafe or visit the ‘Grab & Go’ kiosk in the tea garden. There is also an excellent large shop and plant centre.
You’ll find guided walks and talks in the garden and woods every day. There’s a small gallery in the house with changing exhibitions for every season and even a secondhand bookshop. I joined a guided walk which was very interesting.
The National Trust describes the property as “A garden lovers’ home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins”.
The Victorians built piers around the coast of Britain. Brighton Pier is open all year and is very popular with visitors – but sadly the West Pier was damaged by fire some years ago. It is a popular subject for photographs