Springtime in Somerset and beyond

Category: News 20th February 2024

This time of year is ideal for exploring some of the amazing displays of spring flowers which can now be found around Somerset. From gardens just over the border at Stourhead in Wiltshire to snowdrop walks and bluebell woods within the county there is plenty on offer. Many of the locations are easy to get to and close to several of our drop off points.   

Near to Wincanton you will find the Newt which has planted over 10,000 snowdrops in its woods and grounds whilst in Bath at Prior Park Gardens you will be able to enjoy a feast of snowdrops alongside the footpaths and in the Summerhouse Glade.

Fyne Court on the outskirts of Taunton always has an impressive display and a walk through their woodlands will bring you into the meadows which are always awash with an array of snowdrops.

If you around during the middle of February, you may like to take yourself along to the Yeo Valley Organic Gardens at Blagdon to experience a carpet of common snowdrops and early spring flowers.

However, one of the most spectacular places to see snowdrops has to be East Ladbrook Manor Garden. Ever since Margery Fish began her collection here these gardens have provided visitors with a  ‘sensation of snowdrops.’ Planted in an area known as The Ditch the gardens has a festival throughout February when you can experience up to 50 different varieties of snowdrops with two named after Margery and her husband Walter. There are special tours, and they are open Tuesdays until Sundays.

For those of you exploring Exmoor, Snowdrop Valley can be found at Wheddon Cross. Here you will find snowdrops growing in the wild between the ferns and moss. A privately owned site you can visit up until February 26th but will need to park in Cutcombe Cattle Market Car Park. There are various walks, the most popular being the shorter ones which are approximately one mile down to the valley looping back uphill for a further mile. Maps of the walks are available from the parking kiosk, staffed from 9.00 – 4.00 each day.

For visitors to Wells and the surrounding area the Bishop’s Palace and Gardens have a special snowdrop month during February when you can walk around the moat and gardens. They have produced a leaflet to assist you and have also designed a children’s trail.

Other sites you may want to investigate for displays include Glastonbury Abbey, Hestercombe Gardens and Forde Abbey near Chard.

Those wanting to experience some of Somerset’s most spectacular bluebell woods should make for the county around the end of March. Those visiting Bath could try Greyfield Wood near High Littleton. These ancient woodlands are usually festooned with bluebells at this time of year. Once part of a hunting estate you should make for the footpath which runs south from Greyfield Road out of High Littleton. A good place for lunch is the Star Inn in the village or the Pony and Trap a few miles away.

Near Langport you will find Aller and Beer Woods. Again, ancient woodlands they should be festooned with bluebells, which grow amongst the oak and ash trees.

For those alighting at Yeovil there is the Ladies Walk at Montacute, a few miles from the drop off point. It is a short walk past the village school and up through the beech wood then along by Montacute House and back into the village. The route is usually awash with bluebells and is close to Ham Hill with its magnificent views. Near Taunton Thurlbear Woods, a site of special scientific interest includes secret glades, its own rookery and a wide variety of wildflowers including plenty of bluebells.

If you are into daffodils make for Montacute House which last year planted around 30.,000 bulbs. Taking three weeks visitors will now be able to see the fruits of their labours with varieties such as Rijnveld Earl Sensation, February Gold and Red Devon. Chris Gaskin, the head gardener admits that it was hard work planting such a large number of bulbs,but was worth it as there are now many more seasonal variations on display. 

Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire and Barrington Court in Somerset are both ideal daffodil venues and always draw in lots of visitors at this time of year. Stourhead on the Wiltshire border always has a magnificent display during the spring and trip here can always be combined with an excellent lunch at their café.  

Driving around at this time of year the hedgerows of the county are awash with snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells as Somerset welcomes in the Spring.

I wandered lonely as a cloud.
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils.
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

William Wordsworth

Quirky Fact: Snowdrops are used to winter conditions and so their leaves have developed hard tips to help them break through frozen soil. Their sap also contains a special type of natural antifreeze.