Kevin Sweet's November Blog

What a great autumn we are having an amazing range of autumnal colour both from the trees and shrubs. Although it seems things are winding down in the garden there is still lots to be getting on with. For us, Christmas preparations are now in full swing and we’ve ordered the Christmas trees and volumes of poinsettias!

I love the festive season at Ashdown Park (I do love all seasons) but especially this time of year, as the hotel is truly magical and an amazing place to fill the senses!
Picture all things great about Christmas; Christmas Trees decorated top to bottom, elegant decorations all about, roaring log fires crackling all day, brisk walks on a crisp sunny day followed by sinking into a large armchair with a hot toddy and tasty treats... well... need I say more...
It's said frequently that Ashdown Park has an air of Hogwarts about it; come a dark festive evening when the external lights highlight the neo-gothic architecture and candles combined with gentle lighting offer a soft warm glow indoors, it really does feel like you might see Harry Potter walk through the door at any moment! Explore Ashdown Park this Christmas. 

I digress, back on track with the blog...we are also gearing up for our annual Christmas Decoration Workshop followed by afternoon tea, which is later this month. As the first Christmassy event at Ashdown Park, for many, it officially marks the start of the Festive Season! I look forward to welcoming you if you are joining us!

Wildlife at the Park

With the colder weather you may think seeing the wildlife is harder, in fact during the colder months you are more likely to see the wild deer coming closer to the buildings. It is currently the rutting season (deer mating season) and it’s quite likely you will hear the male bucks calling out, please do keep your distance however as the males can be unpredictable and territorial.

Other types of wildlife also come closer to the buildings during the colder weather, although not so much during the day time. Recently, I have been met daily by a fox that has taken to visiting our car parks. I see him in the early morning and seems to have developed a routine which includes giving me a fright!

If you are up and about early morning, before the now frosty dew melts away in the sun, you will likely see the evidence of nature’s overnight activities marked across the grass. I find it interesting seeing the different markings of various species, it’s like a window into their secret world! If you see any footprints, please do take a photo and share them with us on social media – see how many people can name that animal!

 Ashdown Park Hotel is 25

 Before I finish my November blog with my top 5 tips for the month I would like to take a moment to reflect on our 25th anniversary and mention a NEW addition to the gardens. Commissioned to mark Ashdown Park Hotel’s 25th Anniversary, we have a brand new water feature which sits proudly at the front of the hotel, welcoming all those coming down our sweeping drive. It is an elegant Arum Lily metal sculpture, with 25 flowers from which water flows, surrounded by a new rockery. It really is a statement piece and looks stunning, especially lit up at night.

Something a little different and special which might interest you: On the approach to this milestone, people have been sharing their stories of Ashdown Park past and present with us, including one family whoshared the details of one of their loved ones, a former Sister of the Order of Notre Dame, Sister Gabriel, an interesting insight into days past, read her story here

As many of you will know, I’ve been with Ashdown Park for over 40 years – from the time before it was a hotel and was owned by Barclays bank and used as a training centre. In addition to some super offers, we held a Gala Dinner on Saturday 27th October and I was very honoured to be a guest. I am sure my colleagues join me in saying thank you to everyone who has supported Ashdown Park Hotel and enjoyed the delights that the luxurious property has to offer, as well as the wonderful 186 acres that my team and I take so much pride in.

If you have a story featuring Ashdown Park you would like to share, please do! Call 01342 824988 or email,

Here’s to the next 25 years! 
Garden Tips 
  1. Keep grassed areas cut if condition allow
  2. Clean up borders and cut back wilting plants, mulch with compost
  3. Start to bring in more tender plants or move to a sheltered position
  4. Clean up ponds and water features, remove excess weed
  5. Finish off any late-season hedge cutting


Happy Gardening
Kevin Sweet