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Wow Factor Walks – The Best Snowdrop Strolls

It's snowdrop season! Let us whisk you off to carpets of the little white beauties as far as the eye can see. Spring - we're coming for ya.

Wow Factor Walks – The Best Snowdrop Strolls

Magic carpets of dewy snowdrops, stretching as far as the eye can see? Take us there now! Because let’s be honest, we all need a flippin’ good reason to leave the sofa when it’s this cold, right.

But Spring, we see ya … (even if you’re quite far off and erm, we have to squint a lot). Yes, it’s that fresh and frosty time of year when swathes of snowdrops start to lead the march out of winter into those blissful, warmer months.

Gloucestershire is packed with great places to see these botanical beauties, so wrap up warm, inhale lungfuls of fresh air and head out into the great outdoors. Whether you’re a hardcore riverside rambler, or more of a ’10 mins then back to the cafe’ type (moi?!) we have you covered.

Spectacular snowdrop season is upon us, read on for the ultimate wow-factor walks.

 

Painswick Rococo Garden, Painswick, Stroud

Painswick Rococo Garden has one of the largest plantings of snowdrops in the UK, with more than 5 million popping up each year – making it one of the county’s must see floral pop-ups.

It’s a wonderfully quirky place to visit too, the Rococo Garden was built as a ‘pleasure garden’ in the 1740s for the owner of Painswick House so it really gives us that ‘Secret Garden’ feel, explore its glorious glades and the fabulously named Snowdrop Grove near the maze. And when you’ve soaked up all that snowdrop scenery, head to the Coach House cafe for some homemade soup or a coffee. Even better, furry friends are all very welcome. Hurray.

 

Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-the-Marsh

Open all year round, spot the first signs of Spring at Moreton-in-Marsh’s gorgeous Batsford Arboretum, when it bursts into bloom with swathes of snowdrops. This is a great place for a general wander too with the Batsford Garden Centre, shop and cafe.

It’s not just snowdrops you’ll see here either, keep your eyes peeled for stunning yellow aconites, daffodils, pastel mauve crocuses and rainbow-hued hellebores. It’s a stunning explosion of Spring colour, selfie buttons at the ready people.

 

Colesbourne Park, Colesbourne, Cheltenham

Colesbourne Park has one of the best reps for snowdrops in Gloucestershire. Brace yourself for 250 varieties of the pretty white flowers. It’s a lovely place to wander through, with a nearby church, waterfall and lake too.

Open every weekend from Saturday 25 January to Sunday 1 March 2020. And if you’re really keen / want to impress the rellies then you can even book a private Snowdrop Tour on weekdays in February, hosted by resident Sir Henry Elwes himself.

 

Dyrham Park, Dyrham, near Bath

Wander through acres of breathtaking snowdrops at Dyrham Park. This stunning 17th century mansion house (you’ll feel like an extra out of Downton Abbey we promise) is home to more than half a dozen types. On a clear winter’s day you’ll be able to see for miles too, with views stretching across to Bristol and the Severn Crossings.

Toss in a bit of deer spotting to your floral adventure (they roam free) then roll up to the quiet courtyard cafe for a spot of lunch or a cream tea to refuel. There’s even guided walks with the park ranger at 11am and 2pm each day. Leave your pooches at home though, they are only allowed in the special dog walking area near the car park.

 

Newark Park, Wooton-Under-Edge

This one’s like a magic carpet of snowdrops beneath your feet, National Trust-owned Newark Park in Wotton-under-Edge may be closed over the winter but there’s still acres of fields to walk across and take in some stunning snowdrop scenery. Stroll around from Sat 1 February.

There’s also a children’s trail when they get bored of the flora, or wind up at the cafe with a coffee and slab of cake in front of the roaring open fire at this stunning Tudor mansion. Muddy tip – look out for the peacocks, they live here full time and pop up when  you least expect it.

 

Cerney House Gardens, Cheltenham

Open from 26 January, the v romantic Cerney House Gardens are a gorgeous, zen-like spot to see the snowdrops. With a wild woodland feel (there’s more than 40 acres in total) they are set around a Victorian Walled Garden – described  by Country Living as ‘what most people aspire to in their gardens – and few achieve’. Indeed.

Before you go make sure to explore The Bothy, its organic working kitchen, the self-service tea room which has delicious homemade cakes, and stock up on some seasonal fruit and vegetables. Dogs are made very welcome.

 

Cotswold Farm Garden, Cirencester

Snowdrops bring a touch of sparkle to the Arts and Crafts garden and house at Cotswold Farm. It has over 60 types of the White Ladies is open to flower hunters from 11am to 3pm every Monday in February 2020.

This one is good if you just want your snowdrops on a small – but still perfectly formed – scale. Gorgeous views right over to the Marlborough Downs on a good day. Entry is £7.50 and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are often on hand to warm visitors up with tea, coffee and soups. We love that you can buy your own Snowdrop bulbs here to plant at home.

 

 

Rodmarton Manor, near Cirencester

Snowdrops feature strongly at Rodmarton Manor and there are swathes of the blooms every year (open on February 2nd, 9th, 13th, 16th). Boasting eight acres and 150 different types including yellow, green and some quite rare species.

The stunning Arts and Crafts Grade I-listed building, located between Cirencester and Tetbury, is a gorgeous setting. It’s just £7.50 to wander around the garden and grounds, but furry friends are not allowed we’re afraid.

 

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Bribe them with the rides and animals – and enjoy the snowdrops at the same time. Win win! The brilliant Cotswold Wildlife Park isn’t where you’d maybe expect to go for blooms bur during Jan and Feb the Winter Gardens have a whole swathe of them.

The large island beds (directions alert – which lie between the Owls and the Emus ok?!)  have been packed with gorgeous winter blooms. You’ll find snowdrops, honeysuckle, magnolias and more.

 

 

Trench Hill, Sheepscombe

Trench Hill in Sheepscombe has around three acres of lovely woodland and a beautiful blooming garden throughout the year. As the seasons change you’ll see roses and wildflowers, and to kick things off by February, there are thousands of pretty snowdrops.

An organic garden, Trench Hill is open on various dates throughout the year, via the National Garden Scheme, including Sunday, February 9 and 16, 11am-5pm. £5 for adults and children go free. Check out the pretty waterfall and cool wooden sculptures. Head for the homemade tea and cake (proceeds go to local charities) and there’s even a children’s play area.

And further afield

 

Oxfordshire

snowdrops close up

Waterperry Gardens , Oxon

It’s snowdrops in abundance over at Waterperry Gardens with over 60 varieties of the white bloomer springing up across the site’s eight acres. A half hour drive west of central Oxford, the gardens are running a snowdrop weekend (22 – 23 Feb) with guided tours of the grounds included in entry price (Adults £8.50, children aged 16 and under free).

 

Kingston Bagpuiz House, nr Abingdon 

This impressive country gaff in the Vale of White Horse was used as a filming location for Downton Abbey so has beautiful British gardens nailed. Snowdrops pop up across the formal gardens, terrace walk, woodland garden and surrounding parks, plus there’s a snowdrop and plant fair coming up on 23 Feb.

 

Swyncombe Downs, Oxon

A lesser known hotspot, in south Oxfordshire, snowdrops and bright yellow aconites usually spring up around St. Botolph church’s 1000 year old grounds in Feb and early Mar. If you fancy a walk, you can head on to the ridgeway and across Swyncombe Estate.

 

Worcester College, University of Oxford 

It’s unusual to get such an impressive display of snowdrops in a city centre, which is why Worcester College is such a gem. The flowers have been growing here for hundreds of years with Worcester’s records revealing that six bunches wee bought for 1 shilling and sixpence back in 1863 (spoiler: there are a lot more than that now).

 

Thenford Arboretum, nr Banbury

This privately owned arboretum is home to over 5000 trees and shrubs including an impressive display of snowdrops weaved amongst the sculpture gardens, water gardens and medieval fish ponds. The gardens are only open to the public for a few dates each year with snowdrop season prime time to have a wander around for a few hours. Open days are on 5 & 15 Feb (tickets £12).

 

Have a camera, will travel?

snowdrops wood

Basildon Park, Berks

A great spot if you fancy a stroll with your annual snowdrops. Basildon, on the Berks border, has loads of different routes around its 400 acre parkland and gardens including the green walk through the woodland, or the longer three mile orange route around the estate’s boundary.

 

The Knoll and The Folly, Beds 

Part of the National Garden Scheme, a brilliant venture which gives the public access to over 3,500 privately owned gardens, The Knoll and The Folly have extended open days this year for you to get a glimpse of the space’s snowdrop collections. They’ll be open on 5, 11, 14, 22, 24 Feb.

 

Welford Park, Berks

Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until 1 Mar.

 

Benington Lordship Gardens, Herts 

The Big One. It’s impossible to talk about snowdrops without naming Benington. Close to Walkern and Stevenage, Benington has the lot and, with 200 varieties surrounding the Norman castle and moat, is often cited as the best snowdrop site in the country. There’ll be snowdrops for sale, plus you can also catch a concert, every Sunday at 2.30pm, in St Peter’s Church. No dogs allowed (5 Feb – 1 Mar).

 

Walkern Hall, Herts 

This stunning Georgian manor house set in a medieval hunting park is also a wedding venue and popular filming location. Eight acres of snowdrops and aconites to admire as well as homemade cakes inside.

 

Old Church Cottage, Tring, Herts 

Ancient yews, a Norman tower and a four hundred year old thatched cottage make for a perfect backdrop for snowdrops, am I right? Load of different varieties spring up on the churchyard along with pretty cyclamen, crocuses and other spring bulbs.

 

Anglesey Abbey, Cambs 

Back in the old days snowdrops were planted by monks as a symbol of purity with Anglesey, a former priory, a great example of monastic planting. It’s National Trust, so it offers your usual restaurant and shops and even a second hand bookshop.

 

Chippenham Park Gardens, Cambs 

Snowdrop walks, aconites, and all in gardens landscaped to an Anglo-Dutch design. At one point this estate was bought by a sugar baron, which leads me to the Potting Shed Cafe. Cake!

 

King’s Arms Garden, Beds 

A smaller space for snowdrops, the one and a half acre woodland gardens open just in time for the season in late Jan. Loads of snowdrop varieties as well as other spring offerings in the pretty space.

 

 

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Gloucestershire & Worcestershire