With the weather playing its part, now is an excellent time to experience one of the UK’s most popular snowdrop walks at Rode Hall & Gardens, between Alsager and Congleton.
Undoubtedly marking the start of spring, the beautiful end-of-winter walk for all the family takes you across a diverse landscape where you’ll discover more than 70 varieties of snowdrops.
Walk along the footpaths amidst carpets of white flowers on an enchanting mile-long route (there are options for longer or shorter walks).
Take in the wild beauty of cascading snowdrops in the Old Wood and Wild Garden, the scenic path down to the lake, and the drifts of snowdrops in the borders of the formal Nesfield Garden.
Highlights of a visit to Rode Hall also include the two-acre Walled Kitchen Garden and the unmissable vista down Colonel’s Walk where some of the rarest varieties of snowdrops can be found.
Rode Hall’s stunning snowdrops are one of the natural treasures of the North West of England, and last year was the 200th anniversary of the death of Humphry Repton, the great landscape artist.
Springtime is tough to be one of the finest times to visit, when the Repton-designed landscape is most visible.
The snowdrops at Rode Hall have multiplied over six generations of the Wilbraham family.
They were first planted by Sibella Wilbraham in 1833 who came from a family of gifted gardeners.
This passion and care continues to the present day, having been further developed by Anne Baker Wilbraham over the last 30 years.
This year, visitors can also purchase Rode Hall snowdrops (including limited amounts of many of the more unusual varieties) to plant at home.
(1) Rode Hall’s Courtyard Kitchen – wonderfully atmospheric with a flaming wood burner and local seasonal menu. Everything possible is grown in the Kitchen Garden and home made at the hall or sourced from the Rode Hall Farmers’ Market (including soups, sausage baps, cakes, cream teas, biscuits and ice cream).
(2) Rode Hall Shop – selling Rode’s new range of jams, pickles and cordials made with produce from its organic Kitchen Garden. Also selling snowdrops, spring plants and dried flowers.
(3) Rode Hall Farmers’ Market – taking place on Saturday 2nd March (9am -1.30pm). Over 70 top producers offer the finest artisan produce from Rode Hall, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire.
(4) All Saints Church – decorated with snowdrops and other spring flowers and serving light refreshments.
(5) Art Exhibition – by local art groups running until 1st March in the barns.
Families will love exploring and playing in the different enchanting landscapes.
Hunt for the willow animal sculptures along the walk, spot butterflies amongst the flowers and heron and carp in the stews and lake.
Children’s imagination can also be sparked by the willow animal sculpture trail, 200 year old Grotto hidden in the Wild Garden and the Waterfall.
Foodies should take advantage of the delicious home made produce in the Courtyard Kitchen and Shop and time a visit for the Farmers’ Market.
Gardeners mustn’t miss the opportunity to snap up some Snowdrops to plant at home (including a limited number of rare varieties).
Rare snowdrops to view on the walk include the Yellow Cheshire Snowdrop (Lady Elphinstone), the giant Comet, the Viridapicis with green marks on the outer petals rather than the inside and Merlin with all green inner segment.
There is also the opportunity to view the snowdrops through strategically placed mirrors under some of the plants. Daphnes, Cyclamen and Hellebores are also in bloom.
Snowdrop Walks at Rode Hall & Gardens, Cheshire, ST7 3QP
Until 3rd March (11am – 4pm, closed Mondays)
Price: £5 adults, £2 children (under 5s free)
For more information, call 01270 873 237 or email [email protected]