Snowdrops, woodland theatre and applied arts at Hodsock Priory
Hodsock Priory’s snowdrop walks and winter gardens will open daily from Saturday 10th February to Sunday 4th March 2018. The historic north Nottinghamshire estate will also welcome two brand new events during the three week long season, in addition to a final day dedicated to raising funds for National Garden Scheme charities.
Visitors from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th February can see a magical family-friendly show, ‘The Snowdrop Queen’ in Horsepasture Wood. Daytime performances of the Whispering Wood Folk’s newly commissioned show are included within the standard Snowdrops admission. It is a promenade performance, with the cast leading the audience through the woodland paths accompanied by storytelling, live music and spectacular aerial acrobatics in the trees. Friday 16th and Saturday 17th will host special ticketed ‘Fire and Light’ shows at 5pm. Guests are invited to make their own lanterns from 3pm and join a torchlit parade from the heated Marquee Tearoom before the show starts.
“Having the Whispering Wood Folk at Hodsock is THE most exciting thing we’ve done here in years and we can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when acrobats start dangling from the trees in our Snowdrop wood.” says George Buchanan, ninth generation resident and general manager of Hodsock Priory.
“Our children came up with the idea of the lantern parades for the Fire and Light shows, so we’re up to our elbows in tissue paper, willow twigs, glowsticks and coloured string! We’ll be there as a family, gathering by the campfire with a cuppa and bacon butty to join in the fun.”
Meanwhile from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th February, heritage art pottery, Moorcroft will share ‘spring through the eyes of the Applied Arts’ with Hodsock’s visitors. As well as a daily free 10am lecture about their new snowdrop collection, ‘The Fair Maids of February’ there’ll be displays of Moorcroft designs and artist demonstrations in the Pavilion. The ‘Hodsock Priory’ vase will be launched, helping raise money towards the restoration of Blyth Church, where Hodsock’s ancestors have been baptised, married and buried for 400 years.
George enthused, “It’s unbelievably flattering to be asked by Moorcroft if they could launch their Snowdrop pottery range with us this year. Another world first! We’ll be fascinated meeting the designers and makers, not to mention have the very first Hodsock Priory vase proudly on display.”
“We’ll make donations to the National Garden Scheme and Bassetlaw Hospice from the proceeds of visitors to our home. And we love that Blyth Church will benefit from a proportion of sales from Snowdrop vases, thanks to the generosity of the wonderful Moorcroft team.”
From very young to not-so-young, visitors flock to Hodsock annually to wander and play among, photograph, and identify 82 varieties of snowdrops in the winter gardens and round the woodland walks. Complimenting the little white beauties are winter flowering plants including hellebores, aconites, cyclamen, irises, fragrant sarcococca and witch hazel.
The best tips for visitors are to dress warmly with sturdy footwear and bring a camera – they won’t want to miss the chance to shoot photographs of the blooms, lake, wildlife and family. The woodland walk is suitable for all abilities with regular resting places and the footpaths throughout the woodland and the gardens, from the Tudor gatehouse to the Victorian beehives, are passable in most weather conditions with wheelchairs and buggies.
Warming up on chilly days is easy with hot drinks and bacon butties by the campfire in the Glade, or homemade cake and local produce lunch in the heated marquee tea room. Next door, Floral Media runs the renowned plants and gift sale with hand crafted goods.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01909 591204. Prices are £5 for adults, £4.50 for groups of 10+, £1 for children over 6. Infants and wheelchair users go FREE. Special day passes and admission tickets are available online at www.snowdrops.co.uk.
Images courtesy of Paul Simpson Photography, Gemstone Photography, Martin Tompkins and Bill Bishop.