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A Landscape With Capabilities

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in the heart of England’s South Downs National Park, Petworth has been settled since at least Norman times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The dominant attraction is Petworth House, a fortified manor house from the 12th century that was completely rebuilt in 1688 by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, who transformed it into the magnificent Petworth House seen today. The majestic 700-acre park at Petworth (home to the largest herd of fallow deer in England) is one of the finest surviving and unspoiled examples of an English landscape designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, widely acclaimed as England’s greatest gardener. The stately mansion also has the distinction of housing the finest art collection in the care of the National Trust. Don’t miss the current exhibition of Britain’s greatest watercolors, on show until March 10. The site is accessible via Victoria station in London to Pulborough. Local buses there pass through the town center of Petworth.

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