Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
8:00 AM 2nd February 2021

Snowdrops - The First Sign Of Spring

Snowdrops mark the first sign of spring, flowering ahead of daffodils and bluebells. They emerge through frozen soil from January and are in bloom until late-February and sometimes into March.

It is very easy to see the appeal of snowdrops as they show us that spring is round the corner and appear when other bulbs are still lying dormant in the ground. They are one of the first signs of life in our gardens after the long winter months.

Can you believe that there are hundreds of varieties of snowdrop, both single and double varieties. You often see a whole drift of snowdrops planted in grass under shrubs or trees.

Many gardens are open during lockdown but because of the pandemic do check websites before travelling as to keep everyone safe booking is often in advance.

Here are a few places to see snowdrops in the North:

Austwick Hall, Yorkshire
The sweeping drifts of snowdrops scattered through the woodland here are really quite spectacular. Shortly followed by bluebells and daffodils, you can expect to enjoy a glorious early spring walk at Austwick Hall. House tours and garden visits must be booked in advance so make sure you call ahead.

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens, York
As winter turns to spring this beautiful spot just beyond the walled garden boasts first a white carpet of snowdrops, followed by a bright yellow swathe of daffodils. There are three types to see at Beningbrough - Tete a Tete, Toto and Pheasant's Eye - see if you can spot them.

Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire
The snowdrops are a sight not to be missed at Brodsworth Hall. As well as over half a million of the little white flowers, over 200,000 aconites burst up through the frosty ground all around the garden in February.
Discover more at

Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire
Another lovely woodland setting for a great sweep of snowdrops set in the grounds of this fine Elizabethan house.

Chirk Castle, Wrexham
This great castle was built during the reign of Edward I. Here, snowdrops flow out from the formal borders into the surrounding woodlands.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire
The seven-acre winter garden at Dunham Massey is the largest of its kind in Britain. Since the garden opened in 2009, over 200,000 double and single snowdrops have been planted, which now create a shimmering carpet of white from late December to early February. The garden contains almost 700 different plant species, including 20,000 narcissi that will also be in bloom in early spring.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Ripon, North Yorkshire
Walk on a white carpet of snowdrops as you explore the magnificent 12th-century abbey ruins and amble through the beautiful landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal, complete with Neo-classical statues, follies and breathtaking views. This World Heritage Site, cared for by the National Trust, is set in 323 hectares of beautiful countryside and offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the range of England’s heritage and natural beauty.

Goldsborough Hall, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
The spectacular display of snowdrops in 17th-century Goldsborough Hall’s 11-acre royal gardens are made up of two species – single snowdrops Galanthus nivalis and double Galanthus nivalis ‘flore pleno’. The Species Snowdrop Walk, created in 2012 with help from experts Mike Heagney and Della Kerr, both committed galanthophiles, features over 40 rare varieties of snowdrops in a newly cleared area of the woods – some so rare they haven’t yet been named.

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve, Ormskirk, Lancashire
Take a walk around Cabin Wood and discover the snowdrops.

Hodsock Priory, Worksop
The famous snowdrop experience at Hodsock - until March 1st - will again be all about making the most of the priory’s early spring gardens. Hodsock Priory is a privately owned 800-acre estate and is located close to the borders of South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire. It is home to the ninth generation of the Buchanan family.
For more information go to

Hornby Castle, Lancashire
Take a walk around the beautiful grounds and enjoy views of the nearby Lake District.

Kiplin Hall, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Follow the Snowdrop Trail through the gardens and inspiring lakeside setting of Kiplin Hall near Scorton, Richmond. The swathes of snowdrops in February are soon joined by their yellow ‘fellows’, the aconites, throughout the spring. Kiplin Hall was built in 1620 by George Calvert, Secretary of State to James I and founder of the state of Maryland, USA.

Lytham Hall, Lancashire
Snowdrop Season - Every weekend throughout February
Take the snowdrop trail through the parkland and marvel at the vast displays of snowdrops.

Mount Grace Priory, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
The woodland surrounding this unusual monastery is the ideal snowdrop setting. And it’s as good a reason to discover more about this lesser known English Heritage site. The crumbling masonry and open grassland have become home to a collection of wildlife that has taken advantage of what previous owners, including the monks, left behind. The priory stoats which inhabit the passages under Mount Grace are possibly the best-known colony of stoats in Yorkshire and even the British Isles.

Nostell, Yorkshire
The Pleasure Grounds at Nostell come to life in spring with snowdrops popping up in the landscape. Follow the circular path through the woodland of sweet chestnuts and oaks, making your way towards the Lower Lake and Boat House. As you make your way back up to the Middle Lake, look out for the cascade flowing over the stone Druid’s Bridge.

Ormesby Hall, Teesside
Just over two years ago, 8,000 bulbs were planted in the garden at Ormesby Hall. They'll emerge as winter moves into spring so first you can look out for the white sheen of 2,000 snowdrops, followed by the purple of 2,000 crocus under the copper beech tree. As spring gets closer you can enjoy the bright and bold colours from daffodils and tulips in the flower beds.

Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Wander beside the meandering river in the ornamental garden created by Robert Hyde Greg in the 1860s, and spot the snowdrops popping up in front of Quarry Bank House where the mill owners lived. You’ll find snowdrops in the orchard beside the Apprentice House too, which have been lovingly tended to over the years by one of the volunteers, and there’ll be thousands more being planted in Chapel Woods during January and February.

Rode Hall and Gardens, Cheshire
This is one of the finest snowdrop walks in the north-west. Visitors can come and marvel at its dazzling display of over 70 snowdrop varieties. It will delight and inspire you as you walk through the wonderfully diverse landscape.

Sizergh, Cumbria
Discover a winter walk filled with scent and colour at Sizergh, alongside the magnificent stumpery garden, the home of evergreen ferns and spring flowering bulbs. Head to The Knoll in the woodland garden for the first glimmers of spring from delicate winter aconites and snowdrops to colourful bluebells and wood anenomes.

Don't forget to check websites before travelling.