Autumn Colours – NT Property: Sheffield Park East Sussex

I am over a week late in posting this but several boxes of tissues, copious amounts of Vicks Vapour Rub and cough linctus I am now back in action.

Sheffield Park, East Sussex, is a National Trust property near Haywards Heath, West Sussex.   With its four lakes, Capability Brown and Repton influences and the River Ouse running through, it is a magnet at this time of the year for photographers.   The trees turn fabulous russets and on a still sunny day the reflections in the lakes are magnificent.

To appreciate it to the full, you really need it to be clear, no wind for the reflections and a blue sky for the contrasts of colour. Saturday the 1st of November was one such day when I went with my friend Kate to view the autumn shades.  We were there for several hours drinking in the views and colours, and in particular the Swamp Cypress which adds fabulous tones of rust and orange throughout the estate.

Rather than post a number of photos I have decided on this occasion to make a small movie for you to watch.  Somehow I believe it gives more of a feel of being there for you.   It’s just under 3 minutes long, so sit back and please enjoy.

The music is from the Ultimate Wellbeing Album and called “Fluorescent Glimmer” by Floetry Faction.

In search of autumnal colour

We are coming up to the end of October, that in itself is scary, where does the year go!   Now is the time for fabulous autumnal colours, varying from pale yellow, through to rusts and jewel reds.    An ideal opportunity for an amateur who is still learning how to use a camera properly.

Saturday morning I set off with my somewhat reluctant friend MB.  I discovered later that he didn’t much like Sheffield Park and never has done – each to their own.

Have you  noticed that if a day starts off out of kilter, it just continues to go down hill?   We know how to get to Sheffield Park, but MB has a new sat nav so with the address punched in, just for fun, we followed the directions.  Not only did it take us the longest way out of Worthing, straight into the heavy traffic on the A27, once off the A23 we found we were winding our way through country lanes, straight into a road closure and subsequent  redirection which added a further 20 minutes to our already long journey.    MB was hungry and he is not a happy man when hungry.    When we finally arrived at Sheffield Park, it was heaving with people.  I can honestly say that I have never seen so many cars at a National Trust property, apart from when they are holding evening events.    This was obvious really,  it was beautiful Saturday and clearly everyone had the same idea, even the overflow car park was overflowing.  I overheard one NT lady in the shop saying they had already had 3,500 visitors.

Our first aim was to eat, however, as you can imagine with the number of people at Sheffield Park, they were queuing out of the door and down the path at the restaurant.   We should have brought a picnic, isn’t hindsight just great?   We shuffled along, until the food counter was in sight, then suddenly MB then let out a cry “…******* …wet paint!”    The door to the restaurant had  been painted earlier and was still tacky.   There were no ‘wet paint’ signs, he had leant against the door and now had cream paint on his new jacket.   Oh dear, today was not going right at all.

After we had eaten, we went to the main entrance to locate a manager to complain, he was not the only person who had connected with the tacky door.   I wandered off with my camera as Mr Angry sought the manager.   When he caught up with me, he was equally angry having been told that there are signs up now and what was she supposed to do about it!!   Great management technique, poor MB,  I don’t think the NT will hear the end of this, and probably neither will I.

Back to looking for autumnal colour.    It was not easy to take photos, without people being in the way and along the edge of the lake, it was as though it was holding its own press conference.   It was packed with photographers with tripods and long-angled lenses, I felt very much an amateur but we all have to learn somewhere.  I am still finding  it difficult to remember if it is a larger f stop that gives depth of field or the other way around – a simple thing but it won’t sink in.    So some of my long distance photos are not as sharp as they should be,   That is probably another reason why all the others had tripods and zoom lenses – Christmas list noted.   You can tell from the photos below why so many were capturing the view.

I was surprised not to see as much colour change in the trees as I had expected, many were still green just  turning to yellow, I was hoping for a fantastic range of russets.  Those trees  that were turning  looked astounding against the blue sky.

I think I will visit again in another few weeks to see if the colours are better, and probably on my own and I will make sure I don’t use a sat nav or lean against a door in the restaurant.