Hands up who is on count down for the warmer weather?
The days are getting gradually longer but it is still very cold and icy and at the moment Spring feels a long way away.
Hodsock Priory near Blyth in Nottinghamshire is synonymous with snowdrops, and in February the 5 acres of snowdrop gardens and grounds are opened to the public, for just one month, to have their glimpse of the first signs of Spring. – a truly most welcome sight!
We were greeted by the very friendly and lovely George Buchanan, who lives with his wife and family in the beautiful stately home, and he gave us a tour and an overview of the history of the estate where we learnt so much!
Do you know there are over 350 types of snowdrop and some of them are named after George’s ancestors!
Around 5 million snowdrops grow at Hodsock each year!
As well as the snowdrops you can also see the Victorian beehives (made by George’s godmother) and there are plenty of other pretty flowers and magestic trees to see. Also growing in the grounds are Cricket Bat Willows which is 15-20 years will produce 1000s of finest quality cricket bats!
I must confess I am not very green fingered, and didn’t know the names of all the flowers and trees, but I am a fan of photography and I would love to bring my husband back to Hodsock as the combination of the beautiful woodlands and the amazing lighting at this time of year would produce some fantastic shots. I love this photo of a monkey puzzle tree growing in the grounds taken with my iPhone 5.
To keep children amused don’t forget to pick up a trail checklist and look out for the quirky surprises you can see as you walk around. George was a walking encyclopedia, full of stacks of information about the moat that is still around the house, the gruesome battles that no doubt took place in the grounds and also even knew how many chimneys and how many windows the house has!
There is so much history at Hodsock and it is understood Henry VIII had lunch at there, in the stunning gatehouse, on his way to a shooting meeting near Doncaster. I would love to learn more on one of the Secrets of Hodsock evening or one of the house tours to really bring to life the exciting past of the estate.
After all the fresh air we were ready for some refreshments and popped into the heated marquee for delicious freshly made cakes and pastries and hot drinks. There is also a shop selling gifts and pocket money toys as well as plants and flowers to take home. My Auntie, who is more of a gardener than me bought some beautiful plants for her garden and we took home a snowdrop to remind us of this beautiful place
As well as all the snowdrop beauty is a children’s play area, with wooden balancing beams and a trim trail but the real winner for the boys was the campfire – they loved throwing a few sticks on to week the flames going! I thought the bonfire, and outside cafe, with its freshly made bacon butties, was a brilliant idea to warm you up whilst still allowing you to relish the outdoors and the amazing woodlands and snowdrops.
Hodsock Priory also host weddings and I just discovered a friend on my teacher training course got married there! I can imagine it would be the most magical place on your special day with no detail left to chance.
Entry is £5 for an adult and £1 for a child with under 5’s free.
It is clear that are very proud of their snowdrops and work incredibly hard with local businesses and the community to keep the tradition and their gardens alive. If you are looking for a great family afternoon out Hodsock Priory gets the thumbs up from us and I look forward to visiting again soon.