Snowdrops in the Lake DistrictBACK
22nd January 2024
The days may be short, and the air may still nip at your cheeks, but take a closer look at the ground beneath your feet and you’ll spot the first signs that Spring is on its way. Snowdrops. Surely a sight to warm even the coldest of hearts.
Aptly labelled the ‘Flower of Hope’, we’re beginning to see these tender, green shoots cropping up in the meadows, woodlands and wetlands which surround Birkdale House – Mother Nature whispering to us that the long, dark days of Winter are almost behind us and that brighter days are just around the corner.
If you’re in the area, take a moment to admire these delicate, nodding white flowers. Below are just a few of our favourite places to see snowdrops in the Lake District. And be sure to read on for some snowdrop trivia.
Brockhole Visitor Centre, Windermere
Located on the shores of Lake Windermere and just a few minutes by car from Birkdale House, Brockhole is a garden for all seasons. But we especially love Spring when the snowdrops and then the bluebells carpet the ground.
Rydal Hall, Ambleside
Rydal Hall is set in over thirty acres of garden and woodland. With various sculptures and other points of interest scattered around the grounds, it makes for a fascinating stroll.
Hill Top, Near Sawrey
Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter, will reopen on 18 February and Is well worth a visit. The gardens have been lovingly restored to how it looked when she lived there – you can see why it was such an inspiration to her.
Sizergh Castle, Kendal
Perhaps one of the best places to see snowdrops in the Lake District is Sizergh Castle near Kendal. If you head to The Knoll in the woodland garden, you’ll discover the first glimmers of Spring.
Please do check opening times before you make a special journey.
Want to know more about these delicate little flowers that bring so much joy? Here are a few fun facts, as well as a piece of German folklore.
The scientific name for the snowdrop is Galanthus Nivalis, which literally translates as ‘milk flower of the snow’.
Other names for the snowdrop are: Fair Maids of February, Candlemas Bells, White Ladies, Little Sister of the Snows, Snow Piercers and Dingle-dangle
Snowdrops were named after earrings and not drops of snow. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, women wore dangly, white drop-shaped earring known as ‘eardrops’.
Snowdrops produce Galantamine, which has been found to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Snowdrops contain a natural anti-freeze which means that even if they collapse in freezing weather, they can recover once the temperature rises. In fact, they were harvested during the First World War to make anti-freeze for tanks.
Snowdrop enthusiasts are called Galanthophiles and they have been known to pay an awful lot of money for these sweet, little flowers. In fact, in 2015, a single Galanthus Plicatus (Golden Fleece) sold for a whopping £1390 on eBay. Nowadays, you can pick one up for about £200.
When temperatures reach 10°C, the outer petals open up, revealing the nectar inside, perfect for bumble bees who come out of hibernation when the temperature rises above 10°C!
There are over 2,500 varieties of snowdrop. They vary in height from 7cm to 30cm and are divided into approximately 20 species
Collecting snowdrop bulbs in the wild is illegal in many countries, so please don’t go digging any up.
On a sunny day, snowdrops are highly scented and give off a honey smell.
Why the Snow is White
One of our favourite tales is one from ancient German folklore. Legend has it that when everything on earth was brand new, Snow needed a colour, so it asked the flowers. One by one they turned their backs on Snow, believing it to be cold and unpleasant.
The tiny snowdrops took pity on Snow and offered their colour, which Snow gratefully accepted. In return, Snow rewarded the snowdrop by letting it bloom first and making it impervious to the ice and bitter temperatures. Ever since, Snow and snowdrops have lived side by side as friends.
We’ll certainly be enjoying the snowdrops in the Lake District while they last, and we hope that you have some pretty pockets of this fabulous little flower wherever you are. Spring is on its way.
If you happen upon a cluster of snowdrops while you’re visiting the Lake District, why not spread the joy? Take some photos and share them using the hashtag #lakedistrictsnowdrops.
If you’d like more information about places to visit when you’re staying at Birkdale House, please do get in touch.