Today’s Treasures – Snowdrops – Tiny Pearls of Springtime
The days are getting longer and the first flowers of the year are peeping through Autumn’s fallen leaves – snowdrops – tiny pearls of springtime, creeping towards the light; frosts may wither them but their fragile stems soon revive in the sunshine, they shake their petals free of winter and their tiny white bells tremble in the spring breeze.
Snowdrop Walks mark the start of the season for many of our historic houses and there are lots of early spring walks through snowdrop-dappled woodland. Rode Hall, just over the North Shropshire border, has a wonderful display of snowdrops set in enchanting woodland.
The snowdrop trail begins alongside neatly manicured lawns overlooked by a picturesque combination of unusual mature trees, through formal rose gardens, heavenly scented in summer but now lying dormant waiting for the first rays of the summer sun.
Through the gap in the hedge, a whole new vista opens out and you enter a wild woodland star spangled with snowdrops roaming unchecked, under the trees, along the brook, scrambling around the shrubs and bushes that decorate the landscape, and you can find a bench, or perch on a stone bridge, and merge with the magic of the trees, serenaded by robins and blackbirds and soothed by the sound of the stream bubbling over stones, watched by myriads of tiny snowdrop faces, studying their reflections in the water.
Rode Hall is open from Saturday, 4th February to Sunday 5th March (except Mondays) for snowdrop escapades for all the family (including dogs – on leads). The tearoom is open serving light lunches and you can warm up by the logburner with a welcome pot of tea and homemade cakes. The art exhibition in the barn is well worth a visit, showcasing creations by local artists – and not all of the paintings feature snowdrops! www.rodehall.co.uk
In the Druid calendar Snowdrops heralded Spring and first appear at Imbolc – celebrated on 31st January and 2nd February (Candlemas Day).
There are snowdrops walks all over Shropshire, including Combermere Abbey, Attingham Park, and Dudmaston Hall.
The Snowdrop Fairy
Deep sleeps the Winter
Cold, wet, and grey;
Surely all the world is dead;
Spring is far away.
Wait! the world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow!
Cicely Mary Barker