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Snowdrop spectaculars

Tip toe through the snowdrops when you go out for your daily perambulation: where to see the best snowdrops near you

snowdrops

Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Associated with winter (the latin name Galanthus nivalis, means ‘milk flower of the snow’), snowdrops are appearing earlier and earlier due to the UK’s changing climate. In the 1950s, they would typically flower late February; now it’s January through to March, growing in woodlands, parks and gardens.

Some of the usual places to see stunning snowdrop displays in Somerset and Dorset –  Snowdrops Valley at Wheddon Cross,  Mapperton House, Forde Abbey, and Yeo Valley Organic Gardens – are closed for this year. So here’s where to find swathes of nodding white flowers near you in 2021.

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Festival of Snowdrops, East Lambrook Manor Gardens, near South Petherton, Somerset

The snowdrops are spectacular at the Grade 1 listed garden created by Margery Fish. One of the first ‘galanthophiles’, she collected snowdrops to plant in her now famous garden from 1938 to 1969, and amassed a significant collection. Expect swathes of snowdrops, unusual cultivars, Chris Kampf’s steel snowdrop sculptures and over 70 different varieties of the little white flower to buy for your own garden. Open Tues – Sun, from Weds 3 to Sun 28 February, 10am to 5pm

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Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Six million snowdrops – and 40 different species – in bloom amongst the tree ferns in the Victorian Fernery, along Lime Avenue and Lady’s Walk and inbetween the Japanese garden’s bamboo in the grounds of this flamboyant historic house now owned by the National Trust.  The gardens are open daily from 10am – 4pm.

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Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Somerset

Surely one of the most spectacular landscape gardens in the UK – elegant trees, Palladian follies and bridge – with added snowdrops. Open daily from 10am – 4pm.

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Shaftesbury Snowdrops, around Shaftesbury, Dorset

Snowdrop walks (many of them pushchair and wheelchair accessible and dog-friendly) around a town planted with 200,000 snowdrops, some of which are varieties you won’t see anywhere else. No wonder they call this this the Snowdrop Town.

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Snowdrop weekends, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens,  Wells, Somerset

Pick up a leaflet to guide you around the snowdrops at the medieval Bishop’s Palace: around the banks of the moat, across the Willow Bridge and into the Arboretum for some special varieties. Daffodils will be taking over soon!  Open daily from Sat 30 Jan – Sat 21 Feb, 10am-4pm.

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Compton Acres, Poole, Dorset

Five different gardens, 3000 different plant species in 10 acres – and snowdrops popping up all over. If you live close by, you might want to take advantage of a special offer on their annual pass (£22.50 and you can take up to 4 people with you).

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Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival, around Shepton Mallet, Somerset

All things galanthotropic (I think I made that word up), in honour of Shepton’s Snowdrop King, James Allen. The theme this year is ‘Hope in Nature’, with a guided trail with thousands of snowdrops, artist and makers online and a special poem written by the festival bard.

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Affpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset

Thatched cottages, 13th century church, the river Piddle running through it and banks blanketed with snowdrops.

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Dyrham Park, near Bath, Somerset

Snowdrops growing in front of the National Trust’s 17th century house (one of the most notable stately homes of its age), with more in the nut walk in the garden and the terraces. Warm up with hot drinks from the little kiosk. Open daily from 10am – 4pm.

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Compton Valence, near Dorchester, Dorset

A village famed for its snowdrops.

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Dunster Castle Dunster, Somerset

The castle with its impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower is known for its Mediterranean and subtropical plants but there are swathes of snowdrops too plus panoramic views over the Bristol Channel and surrounding countryside. Open daily from 10am – 4pm.

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Minterne Gardens, Minterne Magna, Dorchester

Landscaped in the style of Capabilty Brown,  the mile-long trail around their Himalayan gardens takes in small lakes, waterfalls, streams and at this time of year, an abundance of snowdrops.  Free to visitors throughout February.

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