Snowdrops near Boundary Stables
Snowdrops near Boundary Stables
The five one-storey holiday cottages that make up Boundary Stables are nestled in the heart of Happisburgh – a quiet, unspoilt village in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, looking out onto the magnificent North Sea. Norfolk wildlife is diverse and plentiful, changing with the seasons. As we come to the end of the grey seal’s breeding season, it’s time to enjoy the sweet harbinger of spring: the snowdrop.
The snowdrop – Galanthus, from Greek gála (‘milk’) and ánthos (‘flower’) – blooms before the vernal equinox, and the appearance of this dainty little white flower, drooping on its slender stem, inspires a universal celebration of the coming of spring. In Norfolk, you can see clusters of snowdrops by the roadside, in gardens, and in woodland. But there are certain places where conditions are conducive to an explosion of this well-loved plant.
Walsingham Abbey (NR22 6BP) is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year; but in February, when snowdrops are carpeting the 18 acres of woodland, it’s extra beautiful. From Saturday January 27th until Sunday March 4th, Walsingham Abbey, which is 32 miles from Happisburgh, is open every day for ‘snowdrop walks’. Dogs are welcome, as long as they are on leads, and some of the pathways are accessible to wheelchairs.
Blickling Estate (NR11 6NF), owned by the National Trust, is just 15 miles from Happisburgh. With its stately home, three cafés, beautiful gardens, and acres of woodland and parkland to explore, Blickling Estate is one of the region’s most popular attractions. In February, the Blickling woodland, carpeted in snowdrops, is a truly wonderful sight. Here, too, dogs are welcome.
St Margaret’s Church (NR11 8UA), in Thorpe Market, near Cromer, is well known for the abundance of snowdrops in its churchyard. Although the churchyard is open to visitors every day, St Margaret’s has a tradition of hosting ‘snowdrop Sundays’. On all four Sundays in February (4th, 11th, 18th, 25th), you can see the snowdrops in the churchyard, and enjoy hot drinks and home-made cakes in the church, where there is also a plant sale. Thorpe Market is 12 miles from Happisburgh.
Since 1927, the National Garden Scheme has been raising funds for charity by opening gardens in England and Wales. This year, the Scheme’s third National Snowdrop Festival is being celebrated in Norfolk at the following venues, from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
- Horstead House (NR12 7AU) on Saturday February 17th
- Bagthorpe Hall (PE31 6QY) on Sunday February 25th
- Chestnut Farm (NR25 6NX) on Sunday February 25th and on Sunday March 4th
- Raveningham Hall (NR14 6NS) on Sunday March 11th
There is an abundance of woodland in Norfolk. Foxley Wood (NR20 4QR), cared for by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, is the largest ancient woodland in Norfolk, 30 miles from Happisburgh. Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe (NR16 1HB) is an area of ancient woodland, also about 30 miles from Happisburgh. Bacton Woods, near North Walsham, is just a few miles from Happisburgh; and Sheringham Park (NR26 8TL) is 20 miles away.
All this lovely woodland will, in a couple of months, be full of bluebells. But for now, the little snowdrop is the star of the show!