Sheringham Park in Norfolk is very attractive parkland around a 19th century mansion. Humphry Repton (1752-1818) designed the landscape and the park has a reputation as one of his masterpieces. We were spending a week in Norfolk and this was one of our daily outings.
A brief history of Sheringham Hall and Park
Abbot and Charlotte Upcher bought Sheringham Park in 1811 and commissioned Humphry Repton to redesign the landscape in the Park. They felt the existing farmhouse was inadequate and so Repton’s son, John Adey, designed a new mansion for the family. Sadly Abbot died in 1819, before the mansion was completed, and his wife did not want to move in. It was their son Ramey, on his marriage in 1839, who finally moved into Sheringham Hall.
The National Trust bought the estate in 1986 on the death of Thomas Upcher, the last of the line. Sheringham Hall is now Grade II listed and privately leased, and the Hall is closed to the public. The park however is open and we parked at Ivy Lodge and followed a circular walk through the woods and around the park. Today the estate covers 405 hectares which is close to the original size of the estate.
In the 18th century the owner of the Sheringham estate started planting the woods on the hillsides, but the park land was laid out by Repton between 1813-17. Sheringham Park was apparently Repton’s favourite project which he recorded in one of his Red Books. Ramey Upcher continued Repton’s plans, including planting rhododendrons in the woodlands.1
What exactly did Repton do at Sheringham?2 Apparently he called his work ‘landscape gardening’ and worked with a lighter touch and on a smaller scale than Capability Brown. Whereas Brown would undertake major construction and engineering works, building lakes and changing and landscape, Repton would trim trees and place pavilions, or make paths. Repton drew his ideas on paper and then expected other people to realise the projects. So, how do I ‘see’ Repton here? I am not entirely sure!
The Temple was only built in 1975 by Thomas Upcher and slightly differently placed from Humphrey Repton’s design.
Sheringham Park in Norfolk offers wonderful walks with views towards the sea, and although it was originally ‘designed’ it looks entirely natural.