Snowdrops bursting into life

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Spring is just around the corner at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

Visit now or during February half-term to see thousands of snowdrops growing in drifts around the abbey and woodlands.

Carpets of these beautiful flowers can be found in the woodland leading down to the abbey from the visitor centre, in the grass near the abbey ruins, and in the edges of the woodlands by the paths leading from the abbey to the water garden.

Steve Elton, a gardener at the World Heritage Site, said: “Most of the snowdrops were originally planted by the gardeners employed at Studley Royal house.

“There was a tradition back then where all sorts of flowers were grown early (or ‘force grown’) in green houses. It was all about showing off – who could grow their flowers the earliest? The snowdrops here were force grown to create elaborate displays in the house over Christmas and then thrown out in to the garden after Christmas.”

He added: “Some were planted by local families in the late 1990s and of course, they have spread and grown naturally too over the years. A former owner, Earl De Grey, also asked his gardeners to plant and spell his name out in snowdrops on the bank of the river Skell in the 1850s – some of which can still be seen to this day.”

Although snowdrops are hardy flowers, the gardening team take special care to ensure that the snowdrops grow to their very best each year for visitors to see.

A Snowdrop walk takes place on Saturday February 17 from 2pm to. 3.30pm. Expert guide Gwyneth will guide you across the estate to look at these white flowers which are peeping through the grass.