5 of the best places to see snowdrops in Somerset
- Credit: ENPA Pete Rae Visit Exmoor
Get out and about in our lovely county to see these magnificent displays, says Catherine Courtenay.
East Lambrook Manor Garden
Snowdrops have long been a feature of East Lambrook Manor Garden, ever since its former owner, the plantswoman Margery Fish began collecting rare varieties. She planted them in an area she named The Ditch, which she and her husband Walter landscaped from the drainage channel between two orchards.
Throughout February the cottage garden has a Festival of Snowdrops, revealing an extensive collection of 150 named varieties, including galanthus ‘Margery fish’ and G. ‘Walter fish’. As well as The Ditch display, many snowdrops are in special raised beds, so people can get a closer look at the different shapes and colours.
There are snowdrop tours for small groups and around 90 varieties will be on sale in the nursery. Sculptor Chris Kampf will also be exhibiting his popular steel snowdrops.
The garden is open Tuesday to Sunday in February, 10am-5pm.
Garden entry £6.50, over 65s £6, under 16s free. Free entry to the nursery.
Mike and Jenny Spiller were inspired to start gathering snowdrops for their garden after a visit to a nursery in Kent in the 1980s.They now have a large collection growing at Elworthy Cottage, their garden and nursery at the foot of the Brendon Hills.
Elworthy Cottage is a one-acre garden, which has been designed to fit into the surrounding natural landscape and to attract wildlife, so features include a pond, a wildflower hedge bank and meadow areas. Snowdrops appear throughout the garden and visitors can see how the many different varieties compare. Many can be bought from the couple’s nursery, alongside the garden.
Elworthy Cottage is open for the National Garden Scheme at various times in 2022 with snowdrop visits on February 4 and 27, from 11am-4pm. The garden is also open during February by prior appointment.
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This beautiful display in a secluded little woodland spot at Wheddon Cross is now a regular feature in the Exmoor calendar. Snowdrops grow among the moss and ferns alongside the banks of a tumbling stream in the valley. The site is on privately-owned land, but each year the Badgworthy Land Company opens it up for visitors to view the carpet of flowers.
You can visit from February 1 to 27, weather and Covid rules permitting. The main parking is at Cutcombe Cattle Market car park. There is no organised bus service to and from the valley this year but there is a Land Rover service offered for a fee by local safari companies – you can book them via The Rest and Be Thankful pub.
Light refreshments are available at the car park and also in Wheddon Cross village.
Prior Park Landscape Garden
You can enjoy the elegant surroundings of an 18th-century landscape garden in Bath, while also finding banks of wild snowdrops in its woodlands.
Winter is a good time to explore Prior Park, with bare trees opening up views across the garden and towards the city. After visiting the garden’s famous Palladian Bridge, it’s worth wandering further and taking to a woodland trail.
When the National Trust bought the property in 1993 the timber ruins of an old summerhouse were found deep in the woods. In 2004 the structure was rebuilt, and it is now the perfect place to stop and rest, surrounded by trees and native flowers – including the many snowdrops which cover the woodland floor.
It’s a beautiful, natural display, the snowdrops later giving way to daffodils and wild garlic.
The Bishop’s Palace
More than 1,600 visitors flocked to see the snowdrops at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells last year. The Snowdrop Celebration weekends are due to return from late January, running each weekend throughout February.
A Snowdrop Walk leaflet will be available and this guides you around the moat banks which are carpeted with the flowers, then on across Willow Bridge to the arboretum, which is also full of different varieties of snowdrops.
In addition to the snowdrops themselves there will be artisan craft stalls and children’s activities in the Undercroft and spring plants – including snowdrops – will be for sale in the Stableyard and free area, with a varying offer each weekend. Entry is included with any standard admission.