19Sep

1. Sheffield Park and Garden 

In the autumn, Sheffield Park and Garden near Uckfield bursts into stunning colour as the leaves turn myriad shades of russet, purple, and gold. Stunning areas of immaculately landscaped gardens give way to historic woodland and 250 acres of parkland to explore, while four tranquil lakes reflect the dazzling displays of autumnal colour from the trees. The Grade 1 listed garden was planted for this magical season – in the early 20th century the owner Arthur Soames introduced many of the plant species which now create this splendid seasonal spectacle.  As you stroll around, stop and listen and you might just hear the sound of steam trains approaching on the Bluebell Railway, transporting you back to a gentler time. 


2. Ashdown Forest and Pooh walk 

Ashdown Forest is nestled in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Crowborough, Forest Row and is well known to our colleagues there! It is one of the largest free public access spaces in the South East. Fallow and roe deer still roam this former Norman deer-hunting ground, and visitors now flock to the Forest to enjoy the spectacular views as autumn changes the colour of the scenery along the wooded hills of the Weald to the chalk escarpments of the North Downs and South Downs. The 6500 acres of heathland and ancient woodland create the perfect environment for taking one or a combination of the mapped walks during the misty days of autumn. What makes it even more special is that Ashdown Forest is also famously the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. Take the spectacular ‘Pooh’ walk through woodland and explore the haunts of A.A. Milne's bear of little brain and his friends.


3. Devil’s Dyke

Rising up impressively from the South Downs and just five miles north of Brighton, lies the legendary and mysterious landscape of Devil’s Dyke. Boasting England’s most colourful habitat which really comes to its visual peak in autumn, the breathtaking view was once described by the artist John Constable as the “grandest view in the world”. The mile-long valley, the longest and deepest in the UK, was formed in the last ice age over 10,000 years ago (although rumour has it that it was dug by the Devil himself to drown the parishioners of the Weald…). As you ascend the hill, you can spot the remnants of the Iron Age hill fort’s ramparts, and the remains of a Victorian funfair can be found just outside the car park. Various trails take you on walks with magnificent views of the Downs, the Weald, and the sea, while in autumn, guided funghi hunts take place in the open downland and woodland.


4. Parham House and Gardens

Parham House and Gardens in Pulborough is beautifully set within 875 acres in the South Downs. Its 16th century deer park, Pleasure Grounds and four-acre Walled Garden make Parham a wonderful place for a leisurely weekend ramble.  In autumn, the gardens’ lilies, roses and lupins create a profusion of stunning autumnal colour. The beautiful herbaceous borders, glasshouse, and a 1920s Wendy House create the atmosphere of a timeless place that has changed little for many years. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is epitomised in Parham’s orchard, where the trees hang heavily with fruits including damson, pear, plum, greengage, and quince. The Rose Garden’s stone paths take the visitor on a floral tour that’s a visual feast for the eyes, while the Wendy House, built by Clive Pearson in 1928 for his three daughters, is a delightful child-sized two-storey cottage built into the garden wall with its own oak front door and wrought iron balcony.


5. Borde Hill Garden 

Named by Country Life magazine as ‘One of the country’s truly great gardens’, Borde Hill Garden in Haywards Heath sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which affords incredible views over the Sussex Weald and the Ouse Valley. The 200 acres of garden, parkland and woodland are a treat for the senses - a riot of rich colour and intense scent, perfect for an autumn day out. The grounds are planted with trees, shrubs and perennial plant species gathered by plant hunters from all around the world in the 1700s. To the north west of the garden lies the splendid Warren Wood which is planted with spruces and pines from Japan and China, a Himalayan Juniper, and cypresses and pines from America. Stephanie’s Glade to the west is home to many rare trees which, along with those in the South Park, put on a spectacular display come the autumn.


29Apr

Although small garden can be frustrating for eager gardeners, but as with most things in life, small can also be beautiful.

Clever tricks and some careful planning can help you make the most of your outside space, no matter how tiny it may be. Here are a few principles to keep in mind when gardening in a small space.


Make use of your garden's height

What many gardens lack in width, they often make up for in height. Open shelves occupy a small footprint but enable you to display many plants at different heights. For a more quirky look, you could even use a vintage wooden stepladder for a similar effect.

If you are lucky enough to have trees in your garden, try training climbers up their trunks. A climbing rose or clematis will add another layer of colour and interest without taking up any additional space.


Clever planting

The golden rule when planting in a small space is to make every part of your garden work as hard as possible. When planting spring bulbs, try layering tulips, daffodils, and iris in the same area to create a display that will last for the whole season.

Evergreens provide structure, colour and interest all year round, so make a wise choice when you are pushed for room. Try to disperse them evenly around your garden, preferably in positions that can help disguise sheds, buildings, and other eyesores.


Fool the eye with mirrors

Nestling vintage mirrors amongst your plants serves the dual purpose of tricking the eye into thinking the area is larger than it is, as well as adding a romantic, whimsical vibe to your garden. They also provide an extra focal point without taking up much valuable space.


Utilise your surfaces

With the right tools and materials, just about every surface in your garden can become home to a plant. Potted plants can be positioned on windowsills, shed roofs, and tables and chairs. There are even plant pots available for attaching to fences, walls, and downpipes, ideal for disguising ugly buildings and softening any sharp edges.


Choose heavily scented varieties

Filling the air with beautiful scent can help give the impression that your garden contains more plants than it actually does. Just one heavily-scented rose can give your garden a lovely aroma, and positioning a lavender plant close to the door will give a relaxing fragrance every time you brush past.


Get creative

Even in a small garden, replacing annuals year after year can start to get expensive. Investing in a few garden sculptures or simply placing large urns amongst the foliage means that your garden will never be without form, height and year-round interest. When the plants around it die back they can either be replaced, or the space left clear to appreciate your work of art.

With some careful planning and by making the most of what you've got, it is possible to turn even the smallest of gardens into a sanctuary. Whether you have a small yard, a roof terrace or even just a balcony, by following some simple rules you can create a relaxing space that really punches above its weight. Last of all, remember that the silver lining of a small garden is that it is easier to maintain so you space can always be kept looking its best.

Thanks to Homebase for the image

29Apr

The growth in wealth of property investors outperformed the average entrant in The Sunday Times Rich List 2016.

Brothers and property tycoons David and Simon Reuben headed up the list of the UK’s wealthiest people after seeing their net worth rise by 35% to £13.1bn.

Of the 1000 people on this year’s List with property among their investment, 61% saw their wealth increase, with just 12%% of property investors seeing their wealth fall during the year.

Chris Hounsome, director of Mansell McTaggart’s Crawley office, said that “once again we see those investing in property seeing a steady increase in their wealth compared to other forms of asset – whether that is as a property to occupy, or a property to rent out”.

29Apr

New research by Aldermore Building Society shows that over half the UK’s buy-to-let landlords (52%) expect the recent changes to stamp duty and buy-to-let mortgage tax relief to have no real impact on them.

This is even more pronounced among landlords over the age of 55, 61% of whom expect to see little impact.

The research, carried out amongst 1,000 landlords by YouGov on behalf of Aldermore, explores how the recent changes to buy-to-let, which came into force on 1 April, have affected landlords, including whether they would raise rents, sell their properties and what they thought the future was for the private rented sector.

Seven-in-ten respondents expect the number of tenants in the private rented sector to increase over the next five years, but a third (33%) of landlords feel the overall value of the buy-to-let market will decrease over the next 12 months.

Julian Thorpe, director at Mansell McTaggart Crawley, said that “it’s clear that property remains an attractive investment for many landlords, despite the recent changes in tax”.

Meanwhile, in separate research, also carried out by YouGov but this time on behalf of HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, indicated that 47% of UK adults support the stamp duty surcharge, while 18% oppose it.

Julian added “the Chancellor’s stamp duty reforms were aimed at levelling the playing field a bit in favour of buyer-occupiers and especially first-time buyers and against professional investors, and the public’s support for these reforms seems self-evident”.


See the full article


29Mar

Official data from the Office for National Statistics show that Crawley’s house prices have been amongst the fastest-growing in the five years to June 2015.

Third only to Cambridge and London, Crawley’s prices have risen by 37% over that period, according to the data.

Julian Thorpe, director of Mansell McTaggart in Crawley is not surprised by the data: “with London’s prices booming, people looking to buy are increasingly looking outside of the capital. With its fast trains to London, as well as to the coast and Brighton, its surrounding of the stunning Sussex countryside and access to Gatwick Airport, it’s easy to see why Crawley – and its neighbouring areas – offer such an attraction”.


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