If, like me, you look forward to the days getting longer and warmer, you will be noticing the brighter morning light and that the sunsets are just that little bit later. The seasons are beginning to change! It is the emerging of snowdrops that for me really signals that winter will eventually end. Every year I anticipate the arrival of these tiny white flowers that are both hardy and delicate and represent the transition from the quiet of winter to the blossoming of spring.
There are some wonderful snowdrop gardens across the country and you will have your own favourites but here are my top picks of places to see snowdrops in Lancashire.
Cobble Hey Farm, Hobbs Ln, Claughton-on-Brock, Garstang, PR3 0QN
Cobble Hey Farm, high on the slopes of the Lancashire Bowland Fells, is the place to lose yourself in snowdrops. Edwina, the gardener, has created a unique woodland garden over 20 years in this wild spot and among winding paths and a stream there are collections of different varieties of snowdrops. The common snowdrops have naturalised under the trees and there are plantings of rarer snowdrops interspersed with occasional pink Hellebore and daffodils. Wrap up as it can be cold on this fellside and explore this cheerful garden. I found myself looking more closely at snowdrops than I have ever done before as I wandered around the garden, finding ivory-coloured snowdrops, large-flowered snowdrops, tall varieties and others with daffodil yellow-stems.
If you have time you can walk on the farmland and maybe see the lapwings and there might be new lambs in the barn and goats in the field. When you need to warm up there is a cafe here too.
Lytham Hall, Ballam Road, Lytham, FY8 4JX
We took the bus into Blackpool and another out to Lytham from Beechwood Carvan Site but you can park in Lytham if you prefer to drive. Like us, you will want to see the windmill on Lytham’s green, look over the sands and maybe browse the shops or visit one of the many cafes but on a February weekend you will eventually want to walk out of the town to Lytham Hall to follow their snowdrop trail
It was a fine day on our last visit and we were greeted by smiling and helpful volunteers and directed into the gardens. Lots of people were strolling through the extensive woodland gardens around the handsome 18th century brick and stone mansion. Occasionally someone would stoop to get a close-up view of one flower in the carpets of bright white droplet flowers.
Lytham Hall was a grand family home and then offices until the 1990s when the 78-acre estate came up for sale. British Aerospace (a local employer) donated the almost £1 million asking price and Lytham Hall is now run by and for the local community and has a range of different events in the house and gardens. They also run a popular cafe in the house.
Bank Hall, Bretherton, PR26 9AT
South of Preston and surrounded by trees is the hidden gem of Bank Hall. The gardens here are open for Snowdrop Sundays through February. Bank Hall has not been lived in since 1971 and deteriorated considerably. It’s appearance on TVs Restoration programme and the hard work of a local group are turning its fortunes around and now renovation of the hall is ongoing. The woodland grounds can be visited on regular open days and wander here in February and you will find rafts of perfect white snowdrops naturalised over hundreds of years in a spectacular carpet.
With two bright green leaves and a dropping white bell-shaped flower, snowdrops are European natives that may be a Roman introduction to the UK. The Galanthus family, from the Greek meaning milk flower, has around 20 different species, varying in height, size and flowering season, some growing to 12 inches high and others flower in autumn.
We stayed at:
Beechwood Caravan Site, New Lane, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, FY5 5NJ – a small, reasonably priced site that has good bus links with Blackpool and Fleetwood.
If this isn’t enough snowdrops then Hornby Castle in the Lune Valley also has a snowdrop weekend.
Read my full travel article about seeking snowdrops in Lancashire published in MMM in January 2019.