Roll out the white carpet! Lovely snowdrop walks
The carpets of white are coming! Here are the loveliest places to catch winter snowdrops in Berkshire over the next few weeks.
First came the snow and now the snowdrops are breaking for cover. What’s that coming over the hill? Spring! Er, okay maybe. Nature is rolling out the white carpet – sounding the klaxon for warmer days, freedom and fun. Until then, take a local snowdrop walk. Sadly, some gardens are closed because of Covid restrictions, so pop then on your list for next year.
Cliveden, Taplow, Berks
Cliveden’s snowdrop scene had an upgrade back in 2017 when former head gardener and Amersham based charity TalkBack planted over 36,000 seeds on the grounds. The flowers about starting to spring up, with the Long Garden and Blenheim Pavilion promising the best displays. Booking is essential.
Magna Carta Island, Old Windsor
Snowdrops are the flower of hope and Runnymede is home to Magna Carta, the cornerstone of liberty, democracy and freedom. Speaking for all us right now. Head to the ancient Ankerwycke Yew (rumoured to be the spot where Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn) to see vast clusters of snowdrops. While you’re there, make sure you visit Hew Locke’s art installation of 12 engraved bronze chairs, The Jurors and the JFK Memorial – set in a acre of land that is officially US soil. History lesson over, it’s an interesting stroll.
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Berks
A great spot if you fancy a stroll with your annual snowdrops. Basildon, in Lower Basildon has loads of different routes around its 400-acre parkland and gardens including the green walk through the woodland, or the longer three-mile orange route around the estate’s boundary. Booking is essential.
Reading Abbey Ruins, Reading
A mini snowdrop trail that’s less carpet and more rug, but we are in Reading town centre. In 2017 volunteers planted 1,000 snowdrop plants to create a spring bulb trail to Reading Abbey Ruins and now you can enjoy them in all their glory.
Ones for next year…
Welford Park, Newbury
Arguably the finest natural display of snowdrops in the UK – but one you’ll have to add to your list of must-dos in 2022. Welford Park, home to The Great British Bake Off, is currently closed and will not be rolling out the white carpet because of the current Covid restrictions. The Norman monks planted the snowdrops here to decorate their Church for the feast of Candlemas and also for medicinal uses.
Stubbings House, Maidenhead
Stubbings House’s impressive parkland is only open a few weekends a year, as part of the National Garden Scheme. The estate was home to Queen Wilhelmina of Netherlands in WW2 and boasts a large lawn with ha-ha (an 18th century sunken fence, loved by ye olde Alan Titchmarsh) and woodland walks. Famous for its daff display, but the snowdrops are impressive too.