We did the snowdrop walk at Welford Park yesterday. We were excited by the numbers of clumps of snowdrops on the verges in the hamlet as we drove in, thinking this was what we were going to see. It was only when we started the walk that we realised just how many snowdrops there are: millions. Not just in clumps, either, but in rugs, carpets, swathes or whatever sort of ground cover you care to evoke.
Apart from a few patches of cultivars near the house, these are all the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis, but in very uncommon quantities.
Our favourite part of the walk was the Snowdrop Beech Woods (in these photos) which sounds like something out of Winnie the Pooh, but a polar version. I didn't know that snowdrops have a light, sweet scent (akin to that of daffodils and hyacinths so very springlike rather than perfumed) and this wafted through the woods which looked very Russian in a way, with the tall, thin beech trees (instead of birches) and a snowy covering (flowers rather than snow).
Then there are paths, and bridges, and the beautifully clear Lambourn river and its tributaries, and clumps and groups and patches of snowdrops everywhere. There are also some aconites, the best of which are close to the house (below).
Talking of the house itself, it's straight out of a Jane Austen novel. (Just down the road is the village of Wickham and as this is all close to the Hampshire that Jane Austen knew, I think there must surely be some connection.) Just behind it is the beautiful flint church with a very unusual C12 round tower topped with C13 spire, the kind of place you should really visit on a bicycle in summer on a tour of churches to collect brass rubbings (there's a fine brass inside).
Finally, there's the tea tent with the estate's own sausages in baps, hot soup, good cake, and a cup of tea to be enjoyed in the old laundry, should you wish. You can also buy a pot of two of snowdrops in the green, but we came home with the floral version of snow blindness and no snowdrops as six or twelve snowdrops would look very sad and sparse in comparison to what we'd just seen.