8 Amazing Places to Find Snowdrops | Living North

8 Amazing Places to Find Snowdrops


Allan Potts
The North East and Yorkshire’s best places to find snowdrops come spring

1. Howick Hall, Northumberland
We have the boredom of Lady Grey of Howick Hall, the wife of Charles, 5th Earl Grey, with the high Victorian garden surrounding her house to thank for one of the region’s most spectacular flurries of snowdrops. Between the World Wars, Lady Grey – who loved the bulbs – made sure to plant huge swathes of snowdrops. Today, the gardeners at Howick Hall continue that tradition, resulting in regular sproutings throughout the woodland around the hall that lays a white carpet over the area come spring.
First sighting: Mid-February

2. Wallington, Northumberland
The traditional white snowdrops that we all know and love make up just part of Wallington’s collection of flowers. The Northumberland National Trust property also has a range of more exotic – and lesser-seen – varieties, including ‘Sandersii’, with yellow markings rather than the traditional green ones, and ‘Flore Pleno’ (which those Latin buffs out there will already know have more than the standard number of petals from its name, which translates as ‘full bloom’).
First sighting: Mid-February

3. Birkheads Secret Gardens, Gateshead
Located between Tanfield Steam Railway and Beamish Open Air Museum, Birkheads Secret Gardens hosts a regular snowdrop festival as the flowers come into bloom across its expansive three acres. Christine and Mike Liddle give visitors the chance to take in the flowers in their pristine white glory, and then to feast on a snack in their tearoom. 
First sighting: March

4. Hawthorn Dene, Durham
This dene, sandwiched between Dawdon and Easington Colliery, is a grand natural space with a deep ravine and plenty of woodland. Spread out across the floor underneath the trees are snowdrops, bluebells and wild garlic, all of which appear come springtime. Managed by the Durham Wildlife Trust, you’ll not only spend your time gawping at the floral beauty: a range of wild woodland birds flit around the undergrowth, too.
First sighting: February

5. Burton Agnes Hall, near Driffield
Burton Agnes Hall’s Snowdrop Spectacular is aptly named: literally millions of snowdrops poke their heads through the chill ground of the Cunliffe-Lister’s Elizabethan family home. The hall is open daily from 11am to 4pm until 5 March for guests to pad their way along the wintry walk. Once you’ve taken in the sights and splendour of nature, visitors can head to the hall’s courtyard or the home and garden shop – where you can buy snowdrops propagated at Burton Agnes to take home and plant.
First sighting: Early February

6. Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire
Strewn across five acres of the grand 800-acre estate, more than four million snowdrops of 17 different varieties dot the landscape, bringing bright white pockets to this vast estate. The history of how the flowers came to this grand location – which has been developed since the 16th century – can be learned from George Buchanan, a ninth generation resident of Hodsock Priory and General Manager of the site.
First sighting: Early February

7. Mount Grace Priory, Northallerton
The best preserved Carthusian priory in Britain is also home to a delightful display of snowdrops amid its woodland surroundings. The white carpet wends its way through the ruined priory, with more than a million bulbs maturing into fantastic flowers that reach their peak in mid-February. Spotting nature in full flourish at such a site can sometimes feel like a religious experience, with the calm and tranquility that Mount Grace’s surroundings provide.
First sighting: February

8. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Ripon
The snowdrops at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal don’t quite fill up the whole 323-hectare property, but when they reach their full growth they provide a view that’s unparalleled. This 12th century abbey, now in a relatively ruined state, is part taken over by the flowers in the early months of the year, which makes it a must-see for snowdrop aficionados. A special snowdrop walk takes place on 18 February, which follows the path of the River Skell.
First sighting: Mid-February

Published in: January 2017

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