Where to see snowdrops in Devon
Nothing brightens up winter like the sight of carpets of snowdrops, jolly little white heralds of better days to come.
Shorts and sandals at the ready, spring is here. Er, okay maybe not, but the snowdrops are! Some of our top snowdrop spots haven’t been able to open yet this year because of the dreaded C-word, and many National Trust properties and formal gardens, while still open to local residents, require booking in advance. Got a secret snowdrop spot? Ooh, do tell in the comments below and remember to keep it local.
The Garden House Virtual Snowdrop Festival, Great Torrington, online
Not heard about the first ever virtual snowdrop festival? Where have you been? The Great Torrington garden’s Covid-hit annual snowdrop fest has transferred online, featuring on national news, thanks to a daily social media posting of snowdrop images. See the garden’s collection of over 300 varieties as they open, including many rarities, compiled by former head gardener, Matt Bishop. One for the committed galanthophile (that’s a snowdrop lover, as of course you know).
While the NGS gardens are closed during January, you can pre-book to see Higher Cherubeer’s 400 species from Feb, as well as other spring flowers, including their national collection of cyclamen and hellebores.
St Raphael’s Church, Hexworthy, Dartmoor
Tiptoe through the snowdrops at this remote Victorian church on Dartmoor or if it’s too far from you, check out the timelapse film above, shot over two windswept hours by Chris Marshall.
National Trust Gardens
NT gardens, parks and countryside are open for local people to exercise, including Killerton House, where you can spot the little bloomers around the gardens, Dane’s Wood and Ashclyst Forest. A step too far? The 6,400 acre estate – and it’s quirky Bear Hut – featured recently on George Clarke’s National Trust Unlocked.
While Coleton Fishacre remains closed until spring, you can snowdrop-spot in Knightshayes parkland and Impey Wood, as well as the Boundary Walk at Plymouth’s Saltram House where if you can bear to tear your eyes from the snowdrops, you get beautiful estuary views too.
Alternatively, follow the NT trail from Kinever Valley to Bennett’s Mouth which starts at Mortehoe, down a hidden wooded valley filled with snowdrops and brings you out at a delightful little cove by the sea.
Stone Lane Gardens, Chagford
This 5-acre woodland garden and nursery, known for its stunning collection of white-barked birch trees and annual summer Sculpture Exhibition is carpeted with snowdrops in spring, thanks to special planting days every March (TBC for 2021) when volunteers show up in droves to trowel up the spent plants, divide and replant the bulbs to help them spread through the woods. One to try in your own borders if you want to bulk them up for free.)
Powderham Castle, Kenton
The magnificent driveway down to Powderham’s 600 year-old castle is a sight to behold, lined either side with snowdrops and later daffodils. Although the estate and deer park is closed till spring 2021, you can lap up the view en route to the Farm Shop for a local Owens Coffee and slab of carrot cake to sustain you on your winter walk.
River Yealm, Yealmpton
Love a riverside walk? The banks of the Yealm as it winds towards Wembury are dotted with white clumps in spring.
Dartington Estate, Totnes
It’s hard to know which is best at Dartington at this time of year – the nodding snowdrops everywhere or the heavenly-scented witch hazels with their spidery yellow flowers. There’s only one way to find out. Fiiiiiiight! Go decide for yourself if you live close by.
Where to see snowdrops near you
Nothing here local to you? Go on a quest to find the snowdrops near your front door. At this time of year you’ll see them in many areas of woodland and parkland around Devon, and they can also be spotted in and around churchyards. Many gardens will also have a clump or two growing so keep your eyes peeled. You can find more local walks here too and some interesting new podcasts to boost your wellbeing. Drop your local finds in the comments box below and help share the snowdrop love!
NB: Wheddon Cross Snowdrop Valley in Exmoor is closed to visitor in 2021, and will re-open in 2022.