Where to see snowdrops in Devon
They're coming out! Wrap up warm and head outside to one of these lovely local places to catch winter snowdrops across Devon over the next few weeks.
Snowdrops – surely, one of the best things about winter, along with no pressure to wear a bikini and a marshmallow-covered hot chocolate? Seize the day and go see them doing their thing, including at the special collections where knowledgeable owners can tell you the difference between a Galanthus pleniflorus and a Galanthus woronowii. (That’s easy for you to say!).
And if you know a secret snowdrop spot locally, don’t keep it to yourself, do let us know in the comments below.
National Garden Scheme, various around Devon
Two privately owned spaces to see, open as part of the NGS open gardens scheme who raise funds for charities, including Marie Curie and Macmillan – over £3 million in 2021:
Higher Cherubeer, Winkleigh
Head here to see the National Collection, over 400 varieties in a pretty country garden with an alpine house, orchard, and woodland beds brimming with cyclamen and spring treasures.
The Mount, Delamore, Ivybridge
A carpet of snowdrops in a woodland, growing with other winter plants, some of which are unique to Delamore and which were sold as posies to Covent Garden market as late as 2002.
St Raphael’s Chapel, Huccaby, Dartmoor
You can see snowdrops all over Dartmoor, along the lanes and nestling under trees and hedges, but one of the most romantic has to be St Raphael’s, a small chapel in the remote village of Huccaby on Dartmoor. The spreading blooms are reputed to date back to a 15th century long-house, predating even the old chapel, and so abundant they have spares which you can buy in pots for your own plot on weekends in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.
National Trust Gardens
NT gardens and parks are a good place to look, including Killerton House, where you can spot the little bloomers around the gardens, Dane’s Wood and Ashclyst Forest.
You can snowdrop spot at Coleton Fishacre with the backdrop of the one-time D’oyly Carte Arts & Crafts home and stunning sea views, at 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.
Snowdrop Festival, The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, until 27 Feb
We have one of the best collections of snowdrops in the UK here in Devon, more than 330 varieties, collected from far and wide, and nestling in the bucolic surrounds of The Garden House, on the edge of Dartmoor but just 10 miles from Plymouth. If you’re after plants for your garden, Avon Bulbs are setting up shop on Saturday 5 Feb from 10.30am – 3.30pm.
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 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 end of March, 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. Go! There’s 25% off entry until 28 Feb.
Snowdrop Valley, nr Wheddon Cross, Exmoor
Once only the locals knew about this remote and privately owned valley, the site of a former river-powered sawmill near Exmoor’s highest village, which is carpeted with snowdrops and open to the public from Tues 1 to Sun 27 Feb. Now you can catch a bus, Range Rover services into the valley or park at the Cattle Market in Wheddon Cross and walk up.
JUST OVER THE BORDER
Snowdrop weekends at Forde Abbey, nr Chard, Somerset/Dorset
Thirty acres of award-winning gardens in a 12th century Cistercian Abbey, now a private home, resplendent with snowdrops plus camellias, hellebores, crocii and spring bulbs. Mostly the common snowdrop but more unusual varieties hidden here and there. Gift and coffee shops. Open weekends throughout February, provisionally from Sat 5 Feb, 10.30am–4pm but check their website beforehand.
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. Watermill tea room. Open at weekends from 10am–4pm until Sat 19 March when open daily, except over Feb half term, when open daily.
Nothing local to you?
From now until March, you’ll see snowdrops thriving in woodland, hedgerows and parkland around Devon, and you can usually find them in old churchyards. Or take a look at more local walks here.