Glorious snowdrops - 7 places to see first signs of spring in Suffolk and north Essex
PUBLISHED: 11:30 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 23 January 2019
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Spring might not be on its way just yet, but striking white snowdrops are already emerging. Here are 7 great places to see them, plus many more suggestions.
While mild weather has tempted them to bloom earlier in recent years, the good news is that these winter flowers are hardy and can cope with frosts, wet weather. And, as their name suggests, they can even survive ice and snow, so, if we get a cold snap, they won’t all be destroyed.
Christchurch Park, Ipswich
This town-centre park is a great place to visit all the year round, with beautiful floral displays among its 80 acres of lawns, trees and ponds. It all starts with a fine display of snowdrops in January. Nicola Warren and Luke Barber both said on Twitter they had seen the snowdrops while walking through the park.
Blakenham Woodland Garden
Just a few miles from Ipswich, this six-acre garden has a special snowdrop open day lined up on Sunday, February 17, as part of the National Open Garden Scheme. The garden will be open from 10am to 4pm, with teas, coffees, homemade cakes and plant sales. There will be admission charges of £4 for adults and £2 for children. The garden opens for the season from March 1.
Bradfield Woods, near Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk Wildlife Trust runs many great reserves across the county, including this ancient woodland, which is free to visit and known for its beautiful displays of wild flowers. The woods include five miles of walking trails, and have a free car park and a disabled toilet available.
Kentwell Hall, Long Melford
Although the stately home does not open until April, its gardens and farm will be open to visitors during half-term week, from September, February 16 to Sunday, February 24, from 11am to 4pm daily. There will be snowdrop walks to explore, as well as woodland trails. For details of admission prices, visit their website.
Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum, near Coggeshall
Covering more than 200 acres, these spectacular gardens include a well-known snowdrop grove, with the semi-shaded woodland giving the perfect conditions for the flowers to grow. Three varieties of the plants can be seen here every year. The estate is open from Friday to Sunday each weekend and daily during half-term, from February 16 to 24, from 10am-4pm. Youngsters aged from three to 12 are invited to follow a half-term Snowdrop Trail starting on February 18, with prizes for completed trail leaflets. For details of admission prices, visit the website.
Beth Chatto Gardens, Elmstead, near Colchester
The Beth Chatto gardens are famed for their amazing range of plants, including many varieties from snowdrops, which bloom from January right through to April. The seven-acre gardens are open from 10am to 4pm daily until the end of February, then from 10am-5pm. You can even sign up for a Beautiful Winter Snowdrops course on February 21 or February 24, from 11am-12.30pm, including a tour led by garden director David Ward. There is a charge for the event. For more details and prices, visit the website.
Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds
This National Trust estate actually has snowdrops to admire from November onwards, because it has a rare autumn variety as well as varieties which bloom in January and February. The idea is to create a display which will last for six months of the year. Wander along Lady Geraldine’s, Albana and Erskines Walks at the estate to see the iconic flowers. You can book a place on a snowdrop walk on February 11, 13, 15, 18, 20 or 22 to, from 2-3pm, with a charge for the event. For opening times and prices, visit the website.
And there’s more
There are also many other places across the area to see beautiful displays of snowdrops, often for free. Twitter users have sent in photos and comments about the flowers around the area.
John Alborough wrote: “There are some nice little clumps in flower on the lane that runs from Hoxne village to Hoxne Mill.
Jayne Holder captured some on camera in Gunton Woods, North Lowestoft, while Clare Norgate noticed snowdrops near the church in Tostock.
“A delightful little dead-end lane that is also a public footpath, on the south side of the Waveney itself.”
Peter Thurlow said: “There are some in Brandeston churchyard, but as yet only the early ones. There is usually a mass.”
Sarah Colbert said that snowdrops are out in Hatfield Peverel churchyard, while Rod Fanning said. “There are a few in Freston Woods.” Julie Vail had seen a few in Wissett, in north Suffolk.
Gill Malik shared a photo taken last year at Eastlowe Hill, Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, and wrote: “My late mother planted these snowdrops about 40 years ago. They have spread really well. Lovely to see them pop up every year.”
Patricia Mattinson, of Chediston near Halesworth, commented: ”I’ve seen them in our garden. A patch popped up last week but they’re now looking a bit shocked after a cold weekend!”
Bee Wiles recommended Falkenham Churchyard near Felixstowe as a place to see snowdrops, while Roo Wright spotted a small patch of extremely early snowdrops in Charsfield, Woodbridge, back on December 8.
Another Twitter user, Stephen Page, wrote: “Snowdrops are always to be found at this time of year by the side of the right-turn road off the Dunwich road which goes down to the National Trust site.”
And Diana Round suggested travelling over the border into Cambridgeshire to join in Anglesey Abbey’s snowdrop walk.
While most people might have seen snowdrops in rural areas or parks, one Twitter user, Matt Woor, said: “I have had one plucky little snowdrop pop its head out on my balcony in Ipswich. Makes me smile every morning... planted them in October.”