Climate Change – and what it means for us at Nymans

A rainy day at Nymans

Wetter and windier winters together with drier summers, are key indicators that the British weather is changing – due both to climate change and the El Nińo effect.

As an organisation the National Trust is developing new ways of managing the impact of these extreme weather conditions. Here at Nymans we’ve seen a vast increase in rainfall; in January over 40mm of rain fell in the first four days of the new year - more than you’d expect for the entire month.

Enjoying a stroll in the rain at Nymans
Walking in the rain at Nymans
Enjoying a stroll in the rain at Nymans

Rising Temperatures & Rainfall

Climate science predicts that by 2080 both the average winter and summer temperatures will rise by 3.5°C and 4.9°C respectively. By the same year winter rainfall is projected to increase by 30% and summer rainfall decrease by 30%. So at Nymans we need to think long term to make sure visitors can enjoy our gardens throughout the year.

Summer at Nymans
A view across the main lawn towards the house
Summer at Nymans

Closing areas of the garden for conservation

The gardens are maintained to a very high standard, which includes keeping our lawns in tip top condition. We carry out a schedule of maintenance works throughout the year to help reduce compaction and wear and tear. But, in extreme conditions like we had earlier in the year, we have to close parts of the garden when they reach ‘field capacity’ where the soil cannot soak up any more water. This is particularly the case on the main lawn.

" As the climate changes we will have to evolve our ways of managing our plant collections to the highest standards, while also looking at best practice to minimise environmental impact."
- Stephen Herrington
View of Nymans house from the main lawn.
View of Nymans house from the main lawn.
View of Nymans house from the main lawn.

Internationally Recognised Plant Collections

Some areas of the garden need time to rest and recuperate over winter otherwise they will not be looking their best in spring and summer. This is when the lawns come into their own as a backdrop to internationally renowned spectacular displays of plants from all around the world. Like one of the National Trust’s historic houses, we sometimes need to close areas for conservation to protect our unique and rare species of plants - some of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the country.

Magnificent magnolias in the forecourt garden at Nymans, West Sussex
Magnolias in the forecourt garden at Nymans
Magnificent magnolias in the forecourt garden at Nymans, West Sussex

Grade II Listed Garden

We know closing parts of the garden isn’t ideal and we want to make sure this isn’t a common occurrence. So to make sure Nymans is a perfect place for everybody to visit throughout the year, and to protect its English Heritage Grade II* listed garden status, we will be making major investment in both our path structure and drainage over the next few years. This will help visitors navigate the garden easier as well as assist with flooding in some sections of the garden.

Winding pathways through the garden
A winding path at Nymans
Winding pathways through the garden

Water Harvesting

 We have already invested and planned how we manage climate change in the summer months, with water storage tanks collecting ground and runoff water. Collecting water in this way means we have 150,000 litres of water to keep our plants happy through the summer.  We also think smart, using the tried and tested method of right plant, right place, with an Australasian dry garden, Mediterranean bed, Tropical Terrace and South African border. Now it’s time to use the Messel family way of thinking - to be innovative and experimental in planning the next stage of Nymans future.

The team at Nymans constructing a water butt.
The team at Nymans constructing a water butt.
The team at Nymans constructing a water butt.

More information

More about climate change can be found here:

Forecast Changeable report by the National Trust (PDF / 3.033203125MB) download

Colourful summer borders in the gardens at Nymans, West Sussex

A famous garden at Nymans, West Sussex 

There's plenty to explore at the garden of Nymans, West Sussex, with plenty of exotic plants and intriguing ruins.

Crocuses coming into flower throughout the garden

The garden at Nymans

Romantic ruins, intimate gardens and internationally recognised plant collections against a backdrop of stunning Sussex Weald woodland - Nymans is a garden lover's paradise.