Sussex Showcase book by Peter Beckingham

Liz Nicholls


Peter’s beautiful new book, a follow-up to South Downs Showcase is out now, with proceeds to The Motor Neurone Association’s West Sussex branch

Sussex Showcase: 2000 Years of Great Art from Bignor to Brighton by Peter, who lives in Lodsworth, was launched at the recent Petworth Literary Festival.

Covering a bigger canvas, the book features more than 2000 years of art in Sussex, ranging from the beautifully preserved mosaics of Bignor and Fishbourne and world-class medieval frescoes in tiny South Downs churches, to the end of the 20th century and the colourful paintings of Charleston-based artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Sussex Showcase takes the reader on a visual feast of a journey to see how Sussex has been depicted through many centuries, including by such English Masters as Constable and Turner, as well as famous 20th century painters such as Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious. It also shows how destinations like Brighton, Chichester and Rye have become a beacon for artists, as well as more rural locations like Ditchling. Covering Sussex’s most famous artists, and iconic landmarks from the Downs to Beachy Head and Brighton Pier, the book investigates how the County has made such an impact on art in Britain.

It includes a foreword by The Duke of Richmond from Goodwood House, who comments “how incredibly inspiring the Sussex landscape has been, and remains, for artists”, Sussex Showcase includes over 50 high quality illustrations, some of which are rarely seen and have been generously loaned from privately-owned collections. Describing the publication, author Peter Beckingham said that “its purpose is unashamedly simple and celebratory – a book which can be enjoyed by all tourists and residents of Sussex with an interest in the county’s rich artistic history.”

Peter Beckingham is a former diplomat whose positions included Deputy High Commissioner to India, Ambassador to the Philippines and Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He now gives talks on Cunard’s QE2 and Queen Mary and is donating the profits from this book to The Motor Neurone Association’s West Sussex branch. Jonathan Newdick, a book designer with an international reputation, has once again designed this new publication, produced in association with Lodsworth’s Heritage Society.

The book is priced at £16.99 (postage and packing £3.50) as well as selected bookshops in Chichester, Midhurst, Brighton, Arundel, Steyning, Rye and Eastbourne. Email [email protected] or call 01798 342082 for more details on how to order.

Celebrate autumn with the National Trust

Karen Neville


As autumn swoops in, it’s not just Keats who was in love with this atmospheric season, the National Trust is too, find out more about what you can enjoy

Ask anyone what sets autumn apart from the other seasons and they’ll almost without fail say the colours – the kaleidoscope of reds, yellows, oranges, russets and bronzes – that fills the landscape are a sight to behold and none more so than at Winkworth Arboretum.

The Godalming countryside plays host to some of the best hues on offer, seek put the views on the edge of the Magnolia Wood, the top of the Azalea Steps, the lakeside Boathouse and the eastern meadow.

Colour of a different kind comes courtesy of an after dark trail, Ignite at Polesden Lacey from October 20th to November 6th. Walk through the gardens at night guided by the flickering flames and glowing tunnels of trees with illuminations along the way.

We can all channel our inner child with a bit of leaf swishing

Natural light can be enjoyed with the warm glow emitted on autumn afternoons caught on the cusp of the fading summer light and the prospect of crisp autumn days to come, forget a filter on your phone camera, who needs that when you can bathe in the stunning natural light. Try The top of the amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden with a view of the landscaped lake behind you and autumnal yellow trees.  Deep in the parkland at Hatchlands, among golden grasses, clambering on a fallen oak trunk presents the picture perfect mansion in the distance. The viewpoint memorial on the top of the Box Hill, boasts all of Surrey laid out behind you as a backdrop or for something different how about the public art installations by Hew Locke and Mark Wallinger at Runnymede.

We can all channel our inner child with a bit of leaf swishing – do you favour the high kick to watch the leaves fall to the ground or a flat-footed swipe to hear the rustle or perhaps you like to go full on ‘snow angel’ and really immerse yourself in autumn?

Polesden Lacey Credit: John Millar

Autumn means harvest time and there are apple days to enjoy at Leith Hill, Dorking on October 1st and enjoy those rich pickings in a National Trust café with a slice of delicious spiced apple cake.

The swirling mists are the perfect accompaniment for Halloween at the end of the month so why not visit some of National Trust’s spookiest spots in Surrey and discover The Sailor’s Stone at the Devil’s Punch Bowl which marks the spot where a sailor was murdered in 1786 or Claremont Landscape Garden where landscape designer William Kent is said to linger.

Find out more

See the National Trust’s website

National Trust top 10 in Sussex

Round & About


Enjoy colour, walks and craft this autumn at National Trust properties in Sussex

Top 10...

1. Autumn colour

Enjoy Sheffield Park as the autumn colours ignite the trees and cast picture perfect reflections in the lakes. Famous for its autumn colour, this is the season that Sheffield Park and Garden was planted for. Take in the natural beauty as the trees glow with brilliant displays of reds, oranges, purples and greens. Children’s spotter sheets and colour wheel installations encourage young families to spend time noticing the variety in nature’s palette.

The South African flower borders at Nymans carry on flowering into late October, sometimes even longer. Salvias are beautiful in autumn, particularly those surrounding the rose garden. Walking in the woodland and garden at Nymans, you can see magnificent colour especially from hickory, liquidambar and acer trees.

Spot deer and wildlife in the woodland, watch mist settle over the boating lake from the shelter of the bird hide. Enjoy views across the Weald, which are particularly striking in autumn with a blend of earthy colours transforming the landscape.

2. Nature walks

Fall under autumn’s spell with immersive walks in the South Downs. Nature is busy in September, from migrating birds and fruiting fungi, to butterflies on the wing. On autumn walks at Black Cap and Slindon in South Downs, you can find open views, fungi, blackberries and hazelnuts for foraging and swallows congregating for their migration to sub-saharan Africa. In September there are clouded yellow and dark green fritillary butterflies. In October and November the trees turn brilliant shades of amber and gold.

Devil’s Dyke & Cradle Valley is home to wildflowers such as devil’s bit scabious and weird and wonderful fungi: including cobalt crust, parasols, waxcaps, shaggy inkcaps and King Alfred’s cakes.

See swathes of heather in flower at Black Down and the blue sky reflected in heathland ponds. At Harting Down and Slindon, listen out for the deer rut in the distance.

3. Crafts & creativity

Take inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s writing lodge in the garden at Monk’s House. Nestled in the heart of rural Sussex, Monk’s House is a tranquil 16th-century weatherboarded cottage inhabited by Leonard and the novelist Virginia Woolf from 1919 until Leonard’s death in 1969. Get to know Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the wider Bloomsbury Group by visiting Monk’s House. Full of their favourite things, the house appears as if they just stepped out for a walk. Open Fridays and Saturdays for pre-booked visits only until 29 October.

It’s impossible to ‘leaf swish’ without a smile on your face.

4 .The deer rut

At Petworth Park, hear the guttural calls of the fallow deer, echoing across the landscape and spot powerful antlers among the hillocks and long grass. Deer rut guided walks are one of nature’s greatest spectacles as bucks compete to attract the females by battling it out with their antlers. Visitors can join a deer rut guided walk led by a knowledgeable guide and learn more about the fallow deer in this historic parkland setting. If you’ve got binoculars bring them along so that you can observe the deer’s behaviour. There’ll be an element of hiding and waiting too. Walks will run on October 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 19th & 21st. Pre-book.

5. Harvest

The blackberries started early this year but there’s plenty more harvest in the National Trust’s walled gardens, orchards and hedgerows in Sussex. See the fruits of the Kitchen Garden’s harvest at Standen this autumn. Plus there are guided walks on the history of the garden demonstrations of how to spin wool, by the East Grinstead Spinners.

Visit Woolbeding Gardens and see mature apple tree cordons, grown in an intricate lattice pattern on the garden wall. This horticultural haven is bursting with colourful planting and innovation. Open Thursdays and Fridays until September 30th. Book a ticket in advance and travel via minibus from Midhurst town centre.

Take inspiration in the cottage garden at Alfriston Clergy House, with its raised kitchen garden beds on a domestic scale. With traditional apple tree varieties in the orchard laden with fruit and pumpkins peeking through their cover of leaves, this is a gentle place to rest and reflect as the days draw in. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays.

6. Golden light

The golden light of autumn afternoons gives everything a warm glow that’s tinged with nostalgia for the summer just gone and a tingle of excitement for the crisp days to come. The slanting sun bathes houses, gardens, landscapes and faces in a honeyed light, nowhere more so than Petworth Park amongst the wavy gold grassland, with views of the grand house bathed in soft afternoon light or how about a cappuccino on the mezzanine floor of Nymans’ new Riding House tearoom, with views of the Weald from the top windows. At the top of the acer steps in Standen’s Arts and Crafts garden as they turn red and golden in early autumn. In Nymans’ new Garden in the Ruins – among the gothic stone window spaces and warm rust coloured planters .

7. Leaf swishing

Whether it’s a high-kick to watch the leaves tumble, or the flat-footed swish-swish to enjoy the rhythmic crackle and whoosh of the dry leaves, there are no half measures. It’s impossible to ‘leaf swish’ without a smile on your face. Try these spots:

Tunnels of beech leaves, down the deep lanes on the Slindon estate.

The woods at Nymans, in late autumn, as the golden leaves form native trees fall to the ground, including beech, field maple, hornbeam and veteran oaks.

Discover Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden: this peaceful area of woodland is steeped in history, with an abundance of wildlife and natural art sculptures.

8. Try something new

Sheffield Park autumn photography workshop – The natural beauty of the gardens offers spectacular autumn colour and walks and a popular autumn photography workshop (Friday, 30th September, Monday, 10th & Thursday, 20th October, 8.30am-12.30pm). An outdoor photography workshop is the perfect opportunity to learn how to capture the beautiful colours of autumn. Adult £35, includes hot drink and cake.

9. Rainy days

A rainy day in autumn is a great excuse to leave the dog at home and prioritise an exploration of the huge variety of grand, stately and quirky houses and collections that we look after in Sussex.

Before they’re put to bed for the year, visit:

Flower Power at Standen – Step back to 1972 with Flower Power, a new programme at Standen. To mark the 50-year anniversary of being in the care of the National Trust, Standen is paying homage to this era. From fondues to fuzzy felts, enjoy a snapshot of life in the 70s, against the backdrop of Standen’s trendy Morris & Co designed walls and textiles. Inside the house is a recreated 1970s room set by Morris & Co, with their ground breaking Triad collection, plus a contemporary design space until October 30th.

Rising from the ashes: the story of Nymans’ fire. A new exhibition which tells the story of how the Messel family overcame the fire at Nymans, until October 30th.

10. comfort food

The National Trust’s cafés in Sussex know a thing or two about serving up a soothing pumpkin soup or delicious slice of spiced apple cake. Pop along to Nymans, Standen, Petworth House, Birling Gap or Sheffield Park for an autumnal walk and a teatime treat.

Find out more

See the National Trust’s website