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Culture: Spring's splendour breaks through the icy cold


As winter’s harshness fades, spring is heralded by the appearance of one of nature’s most elegant indicators of warmer times to come, as the snowdrop raises its graceful and defiant head

Wintry icy blasts have chilled us to the bone, days with next to no real daylight have dulled our senses and downpours have diluted our enthusiasm.

Winter’s dark months have sapped us. But spring, a time of rejuvenation, new life and energy, is tantalisingly close and what heralds the dawn of longer and warmer days better than the delicate dancing heads of snowdrops.

Visit Kentwell Hall at Long Melford to see the drifts of naturally seeded flowers carpet the gardens and woodlands, interspersed with the yellow flowering winter aconites.

Many National Trust properties also provide a venue where you can go to enjoy these glorious first signs of spring.

Anglesey Abbey, in Lode, just outside Cambridge, has one of the finest snowdrop collections in the country with more than 300 varieties of the delicate white flowers, including 20 varieties that have been discovered at Anglesey Abbey.

There should be good displays throughout the gardens until the middle of March. Maps detailing the best places to see snowdrops are available from the reception. But while you’re there, don’t miss out on the other spring arrivals –Narcissus, Chionodoxa, Hellebores in the Winter Garden, the Chionodoxa, Scilla in Anglesey’s Lime Avenue, Narcissus, Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial) in its Monks Garden, Narcissus along Woodland Path and Hellebores in the Weird Garden.

Just outside Bury St Edmunds at Ickworth, you can wander around the estate taking in great views on a crisp winter day and follow the path along Lady Geraldine’s, Erskines and Albana Walk, where snowdrops are complemented by the golden glow of aconites. If it is carpets of white you are looking for, this is the place to visit.

Snowdrops and aconites also feature at Oxburgh Hall, near King’s Lynn, with its woodland walk swathed in white and yellow, as a carpet of delicate flowers emerge. If you fancy it, you can sign up to a guided snowdrop walk on weekends from this Saturday.

Or pop along to see what Peckover House and Garden, at Wisbech, has to offer.

The two-acre garden boasts beautiful snowdrops in January and February and its 300-year-old orange trees will also be at their most bountiful. The Reed Barn tea-room is also open for warming soup and hot drinks to round off your visit.

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