Saturday, 6 November 2010

Petworth Park

Petworth Park

We met up with our friends Viv and Giles for this lovely walk in Petworth Park. We started in the northernmost car park and headed across the lovely undulating parkland - created by Capability Brown between 1751 and 1764. Our first view of the Park is shown above.

After a while we noticed an increasing number of people in hunting garb riding across our route towards the house. This view, looking back, shows a couple of them.

We pondered what they might be hunting and concluded that they were drag hunting. Or maybe hunting in drag, cue general hilarity and unrepeatable jokes.

Once we reached the far hillside, this fine folly came into view.

A little further on there was a wonderful view across the park.

We now left the park and walked along the road into the village of Tillington. We enjoyed a notice on the outside of the Post Office offering to transact insurance and annuity business. When did that date from? The church of All Hallows, opposite, was mostly rebuilt and enlarged between 1807 and 1837. Its unusual Scots crown tower is distinctive.

We admired the pair of knightly - or perhaps kingly - gargoyles on either side of the main door.

After a further stretch along the road, we reached the main entrance to Petworth House. We walked up the main drive, past Capability Brown's fine lake.

And then studied the rear facade of the House itself across a vast lawn. The House dates from 1688 and was built, on the site of an earlier house, for Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. It holds a fine and famous collection of paintings, but unfortunately for us had just closed for the winter.

There now followed a long diagonal stretch across the park, past an area where a large herd of deer had gathered, back to the car park. Petworth is famous for having the oldest and largest herd of fallow deer in the UK.

Cloudy with a threat of rain.

Distance: almost 5 miles.

Rating: four stars. We have walked in a few country house parks (Hatfield House, Claydon House, Audley End, Lyme Park ), but this was surely one of the finest.

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