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The annual NGS Snowdrop Festival across the gardens of Devon

A path is edged with gleaming clumps of snowdrops at Higher Cherubeer. <i>(Image: Carole Drake)</i>
A path is edged with gleaming clumps of snowdrops at Higher Cherubeer. (Image: Carole Drake)

Snowdrops and cyclamen, these tiny harbingers of spring, are often hidden from public view in private gardens, but some beautiful examples are opening for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) as part of its annual Snowdrop Festival.

Little Dinworthy in Holsworthy is a new opening for the NGS this year and visitors can enjoy early signs of spring across its 42 acres. It is a wildlife garden with 26 acres of woodland planted just 20 years ago with paths and sheltered glades for visitors to explore.

Eight acres of meadows adjoining the woodland are managed for the local barn owl population and the garden offers lots of colour for spring with a wide range of magnolia and flowering cherry trees.

Great British Life: There is a wide range of magnolia at Little Dinworthy.There is a wide range of magnolia at Little Dinworthy. (Image: Little Dinworthy/NGS)

Visitors are advised to wear suitable footwear due to the terrain and for this reason the garden is not accessible for wheelchair users, although dogs on leads are welcome. (114)

It opens on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24 between 10.30am and 5.30pm. It’s also open again on March 13, when the spring blossom will be at its best.

A firm favourite for garden visitors looking for late winter beauty and cheer are the beautiful gardens at Higher Cherubeer near Winkleigh which will open on Friday, February 2, Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 17. With over 400 varieties of snowdrops this large country garden is also home to a National Collection of cyclamen and featured on Gardeners' World in 2022.

Great British Life: Higher Cherubeer has a National Collection cyclamen. Higher Cherubeer has a National Collection cyclamen. (Image: Carole Drake)

There is a gravelled courtyard and paths, raised beds, an alpine house, lawns and herbaceous borders, A kitchen garden with a large greenhouse and orchard are approached through woodland beds full of the delicate and graceful beauty of an abundance of naturalised snowdrops and cyclamen.

There will be plant sales and homemade teas available when it opens between 2.30 and 4.30pm.

Great British Life: Carpets of cyclamen at East Worlington.Carpets of cyclamen at East Worlington. (Image: East Worlington/NGS)

Also opening this spring is East Worlington House near Witheridge. Thousands of beautiful purple crocuses are the attraction in this two-acre garden which has views down the valley to the Little Dart river. Walks lead visitors from the garden across the river and into woods. It’s open on Sunday, February 25 and on Sunday, March 3 from 1.30 to 5pm. Dogs on leads are welcome and cream teas will be served in the thatched parish hall next to the house.

Posies of snowdrops were sold at Covent Garden market in London as late as 2002 and they included ones grown exclusively at The Mount, at Delamore near Ivybridge.

Great British Life: Snowdrops from The Mount used to be sent to the flower market at Covent Garden. Snowdrops from The Mount used to be sent to the flower market at Covent Garden. (Image: The Mount/NGS)

Hundreds of snowdrops now spread ever further in the lovely wood here where many visitors return every year to enjoy their beauty. This year The Mount will be open between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11 and visits can also be made by arrangement from February 10 until February 25. Dogs are welcome on leads and refreshments are available at the nearby Cornwood Inn.

For more details on all the gardens visit ngs.org.uk



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