THE National Trust has unveiled some of its most colourful places and stories in West Sussex ahead of its Great British Walk 2014.
Running throughout September and until October 24, the Great British Walk encourages everyone to explore the outdoors and discover vibrant National Trust spaces on foot.
A vast and varied selection of walks is available, from those chosen by the public to handpicked walks from National Trust experts.
Take a stroll through an incredible landscape of colour this autumn, and don’t miss the top colourful choices in West Sussex.
Share pictures of your colourful walks and experiences with the National Trust on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #GBwalk.
THE Great British Walk celebrates autumn colour at Petworth House where guides will lead a series of walks, taking in the park’s autumn colour and harvest.
With far-reaching views across the South Downs, the 700 acre historic park is an ideal place to escape the crowds.
A range of guided and downloadable walks takes in the rich autumn colour palette, and the views that inspired artist JMW Turner.
For hints of autumn gold, follow the downloadable Ancient Tree Trail. The magnificent oaks, limes, beeches and chestnuts create canopies of butter-coloured foliage, and close to Upper Pond you’ll glimpse rich yellow swamp cyprus.
In late summer and early autumn, the parkland is sometimes transformed into a savannah-type landscape – a golden expanse of tall waving grasses and seed heads.
Discover the views that inspired Turner on the downloadable walk, Through Turner’s Eyes.
Stroll around the glassy lake where Turner regularly fished, take in the view revealed in his painting Dewy Morning, and look out for the flaming yellow and orange foliage of acers, as well as vibrant red oaks and the red-purple canopy of an island-based liquid amber.
“The early autumn landscape at Petworth can be quite breathtaking, as the grassland turns golden yellow and is filled with tall seedheads,” said senior gardener Martin Sadler.
“Later in the season, you may hear the clattering of antlers and deep throaty calls of the bucks as they court the does - it’s a very primaeval sound.”
This autumn, immerse yourself in colour inside the house too. The aptly named Red Room is painted a vibrant orange-red, with gold curtains that accentuate the picture frames and pier glass.
In the Carved Room visitors will discover a portrait of the sixth Duke of Somerset whose powder blue cloak is as vivid as the day it was painted, thanks to recent conservation work.
A highlight of the season is the exciting fallow deer rut - deer have been at Petworth for centuries and are captured in Turner’s painting Sunset, Fighting Bucks, which can be seen in the Carved Room.
Guided tours are on September 12, 18, 21 and 26 and October 4, 12, 17 and 23 from 11am–12.45pm, £5, book on 01798 342207.
Assemble at the main house car park reception and wear clothing and footwear suitable for uneven terrain and unpredictable weather.
Follow the link for a mini film on Petworth House: Petworth Film
For the full feature, including details of local events, see this week’s Observer (September 11).