For many years we had seen the signs to Hodsock Snowdrops signed off the A1 and knew it was a popular day out locally. It was time to visit.
Hodsock Priory is a short distance off the A1 near Blyth in Nottinghamshire. The Priory isn’t open to the public although it hosts wedding receptions and provides B&B. The gardens are only open for 5-6 weeks from early February for the snowdrops. It is a very slick and professional organisation.
Stewards in yellow visi-vests direct cars to a parking area in a field a short walk from the Priory Gatehouse. (There is disabled parking close to the ticket office). Dogs are not allowed in the gardens although there is a dog walking area by the car park.
You walk through the splendid 15thC Gatehouse into the gardens. The red brick house overlooks a lawn down to a lake. There is a signed walk through the formal gardens with streams, terraced rock gardens and trees. In February it is a riot of colour with snowdrops, winter aconites, daffodils, cyclamen and winter Helebores in all shades and many different scented flowering shrubs. There are wooden seats along the walk to sit and enjoy the gardens.
The woodland garden walk takes you through open woodland with oaks, beech and birch trees. The ground is white with snowdrops and it is a beautiful sight. In a grove a bonfire is burning with seats round it and at weekends the old potting shed beside the bonfire sells bacon butties.
The paths are all well maintained and tree roots are painted white to make them more visible for people with mobility problems. There are short cuts for those not wanting to do the full walk. Signs say the woodland garden is not suitable for wheelchairs but as long as there hasn’t been rain making the paths muddy, there should be no problems.
The tea room served cakes as well as hot meals. Postcards and booklets are on sale here. On the way back to the car park is the plant sales which have a selection of snowdrops, cyclamen, helebores as well as scented flowering shrubs. Prices are very reasonable.
This makes a good day out. If Blyth Church is open that is worth calling in to see too.