Buckhurst Park, Withyham, Sussex

Saturday 19 July 2003

On a perfect English summer’s day the Lutyens Trust, with our Chairman Martin Lutyens, paid their first visit to Buckhurst Park by generous invitation of Countess De La Warr.

Lady De La Warr invited us into the Library for a welcome cup of coffee and then, in her charming drawing room, gave us a marvellous introductory talk on both the history of this ancient park, held in the Sackville family since Norman times, and also to the work done by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903 for the then tenant R. H. Benson, most of which was pulled down in the 50′ s. Then armed with handouts, we embarked on a tour of the Lutyens gardens currently being meticulously restored by Lady De La Warr and we imagined the lost Lutyens rooms that should have overlooked them. We enjoyed a buffet lunch in the garden gazing in wonder over the Repton landscape and Ashdown Forest, and finally explored some of the park, complete with village fete, and the local church containing the Dorset tombs. A magical day for which we were so grateful to our generous host.