The first snowdrops appear here in Somerset around the end of January and they are a sign to herald in the end of Winter. Many of the Best Places to see snowdrops in Somerset are not far from us here in Glastonbury.
These little white flowers appear in gardens all over the country but Somerset can possibly be called the home of the Snowdrop. It was not far from us here in Glastonbury, in the market town of Shepton Mallet that the first cultivated Snowdrop varieties were bred.
An amateur horticulturist from Shepton Mallet named James Allen was the first person to breed new varieties from wild snowdrops. In the late 19th century it became fashionable to breed snowdrops and James Allen became one of Britain’s top snowdrop hybridisers. He grew all the species and varieties then known and was probably the first person to deliberately cross them and raise hybrids from seed.
James Allen became known as ‘snowdrop’ king. Shepton Mallet are rekindling James Allen’s enthusiasm and passion for snowdrops in the town. The Royal Horticultural Society of Shepton has adopted the flower as its emblem and are encouraging the planting of snowdrops, in gardens, schools, parks and other public places in and around the town.
Now there is a Snowdrop Festival in the town of Shepton Mallet
In 2018 the Snowdrop festival will be held on the 16th-18th February. For details of the events over the weekend visit the Snowdrop Festival Website.
Or you can download the programme of events here Snowdrop Festival Programme
If you can’t make it along for the Snowdrop festival there are plenty of other places to see the stunning Snowdrop displays here in Somerset. Here is a list of the best places to spot Snowdrops in Somerset:
- Snowdrop Valley is a privately owned remote valley in a hidden part of Exmoor close to Wheddon Cross. The owners open up the land to the public from January 27th until Sunday 25th February. For more information and directions here is their snowdrop valley leaflet .
- Snowdrops and Steam. The West Somerset Railway run a steam train from Bishops Lydeard to Snowdrop Valley. These run on select dates in February. For information on their snowdrop tours visit their website.
- Glastonbury Abbey. The 45 acres of Glastonbury Abbey is covered with a carpet of snowdrops every January and February. The Abbey is open 7 days a week.
- The walk around the moat of Bishops Palace and Gardens is one of my favourite walks in the winter. The grounds and the moat walk are covered with a blanket of snowdrops. If you carry on from the Palace up into Tor Hill Woods afterwards you may be in for an extra surprise when the woods come alive with wild garlic in February. On the 24th and 25th of February the Bishops Palace and Gardens will be hosting a weekend of Snowdrop celebrations. There will be a snowdrop walk and snowdrop themed stalls around the Palace grounds.
- One of England’s best-loved privately owned gardens, East Lambrook Manor Gardens will be open from Tuesday to Sunday during February for visitors to marvel at the specialist collection of snowdrops. The National Garden Scheme will also host an open day on Saturday February 17.
- National Trust owned Prior Park in Bath is open on weekends throughout the winter so that visitors can enjoy the snowdrops around the landscape gardens. For more information visit and opening hours visit the Prior Park Website
- Forde Abbey and Gardens in Chard are open throughout February for visitors to visit the 30 acres of award-winning gardens. The grounds are carpeted in a spectacular display of snowdrops and crocuses.