The garden in winter at Uppark
One of the amazing things about a winter visit to Uppark is its silence. Uppark's hilltop isolation lends it a certain stillness even at the height of summer but this winter silence is something profound, ancient and welcome.
The cluck of a startled pheasant and a crack of wings on take-off are liable to break this quietude but in comparison to the summer's hubbub and its punctuating screams of excited children running around the meadow, Uppark is a tranquil place.
The retained architecture of plants left standing long after they've died back and the suspended weight of the rain drops which hang from their delicate, blackened forms is as beautiful as anything the garden can produce regardless of season.
Uppark still hums with a muted vibrancy: the sedum have turned deep maroon, the silver-leaved lime hangs onto a few pale green and yellow summer remnants, and the beech leaves (whether on the ground or still on the trees) continue to provide a beautiful splash of red and orange.
Out beyond the South Lawn, the leafless Copper Beech still revels in its imperious isolation; no matter what the time of year, in full leaf or in stark mid-winter, this beautiful tree never fails to inspire. Similarly, although the riotous growth of spring and early summer deserted the South Meadow long ago, the view from up here remains as stunning as ever.
If you haven't already visited nearby Harting Down, another National Trust gem, the early morning mist and sunshine that sometime miraculously combine to hang over the village of South Harting below, occasionally harmonise to create another dreamy view.