In mid-winter, when little else is growing, a walk through a blanket of snowdrops is a delight, and Yorkshire has some spectacular displays to enjoy. The little drops of ‘snow’ signal that spring is just around the corner.
The Latin name for the snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, means ‘milk flower of the snow’, and when in full bloom, these delicate white flowers can create a white blanket under the dappled shade of winter woodlands.
Although not a native species, there are over 2,500 varieties of snowdrop, which flower from January to the end of March. They thrive well across all of the UK, and even have their own dedicated followers, the Galanthophiles! These collectors are willing to spend huge sums of money to obtain the most unusual and prized bulbs. In 2015, a single bulb of a variety known (aptly) as ‘Golden Fleece’ was bought for £1,390.
Incredibly, snowdrops contain a natural ‘anti-freeze’, so if they collapse under a heavy frost, they are able to pop back upright after. The bulbs of snowdrops are poisonous to humans, but a naturally occurring substance in snowdrops, Galamantine, is extracted and used in modern drugs to slow the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Snowdrops have always been associated with hope, the hope of a wonderful season to come.
So, where to see the best drifts of white magic in Yorkshire?
Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster
Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm until 9th February 2018
Open every day 10am-4pm 10th February – 18th February 2018.
Burton Agnes Hall, near Driffield
Open 10th February – 4th March 2018, every day from 11am-4pm
Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough
Open Sunday 11th and Sunday 18th February 2018 10am-4pm
Fountain’s Abbey & Studley Royal Water Gardens, near Ripon
Open every day except Fridays in January 10am-5pm
Kipling Hall, near Scotch Corner
Open from 3rd February 2018, Saturday – Wednesday from 10am-4pm
Mount Grace Priory, near Northallerton
Open Saturday and Sunday until 29th March 2018, 10am-4pm
Colette Walker, Blue Badge Guide, Yorkshire