Nymans estate is located with wonderful views over the High Weald in West Sussex. Garden lovers had a field day with the variety of plants and trees in the extensive gardens and meadows (circa 30 acres). The rare plants had been collected from around the world by Ludwig Messel, the owner at that period during the late 19th Century, and formed into a stunning colourful garden for his family to wander around throughout the year. The Gothic-style house had been partially destroyed by fire in 1947, but the remaining rooms were furnished in a homely manner and the guides were very knowledgable of their use.
The short cross-country transfer to Standen was interrupted by closed roads, diversions, then careful navigation of the narrow, twisting drive leading to the Standen site.
Standen is a late Victorian House built by Philip Webb, when the Arts and Crafts movement was at its height, in the 1920’s. The house had a mixture of building styles and building techniques, but the interest was in the interior. It contained plentiful examples of Arts and Crafts wallpapers and textiles(some by William Morris), curtains and furniture. These were complemented by excellent special crafts demonstrations. In addition to the main rooms, there were many small rooms hidden away in unusual places. Again, the guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The 12 acres of varied gardens – Quarry Gardens, South Garden Terrace and Top Terrace – included footpaths and forest walks on the hillside, which provided the gardeners with lots to absorb, and Mrs Beale’s gardens are now being restored to their original design.
The weather for the day, characteristic of the dull May, treated us well, with only one small shower (whilst Camberley suffered torrential rain and hailstones). The small shower did not deter from the interesting contents of two National Trust properties, both with extensive gardens and large Private houses, lived in by real families, of previous generations. Members expressed their enjoyment of the well-organised day.