Searching for a garden to visit in the Sussex Weald last weekend, we noticed in the NGS yellow book (have you got your copy yet?) that Hammerwood House, near Midhurst was open.
The bucolic approach to the property took in rolling hills and tiny narrow lanes dotted with picturesque cottages. The house lies on the outskirts of Iping village, so just as you think you must have passed it, suddenly there is the signpost; a relief not to have to find somewhere to turn round and resume your search. Oddly there were no welcoming yellow NGS ‘garden open’ signs, but more of that later.
On our arrival, we discovered a field full of cars and a driveway flanked with daffodils. A hastily made home-printed poster announced that the poor owners had only realised that day that the garden was marked as ‘open’ in the NGS book which had actually been a misprint and their intention had been to open in May not April! Furthermore, they had actually not intended opening this year at all!
However, we were very glad that they had decided to open their garden gates to one and all and a number of visitors were enjoying the unseasonably warm spell.
The simple garden compliments the handsome Georgian house and to the front, a statue of two greyhounds sits in the centre of the sweep of lawn which leads towards the arboretum.
Early bluebells carpet the ground in a blur of blue whilst above, magnolia, cherry and rhododendron were all in bloom. Mown paths wind through the trees and despite the number of visitors there was plenty of space to lose yourself and enjoy the surroundings.
The side of the house, mainly laid to lawn, is flanked by mature yew hedging, beyond which a tennis court bordered by dwarf irises sits beside a small but oh so tidy vegetable potager.
A terrace to the rear of the house looked the perfect place to sit and enjoy the superb views and a number of visitors were taking advantage of the sunshine. Sadly no teas were available due to the fact that the owners had not expected to open at all! The same applies for Sunday 16th April.