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First snowdrops appear across Northern Ireland - a sign of hope for the year ahead

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Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Visitors enjoying the snowdrop walk at the Argory. Credit: Bernie Brown

Visitors enjoying the snowdrop walk at the Argory. Credit: Bernie Brown

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Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Snowdrop season has officially started in Northern Ireland, with several parts of the region already seeing white carpets appear in gardens, woodlands and on hills.

Literally translated from the Latin name Galanthus nivalis, meaning 'milk flower of the snow', a few decades ago snowdrops would not normally be seen here until late February, however the recent shorter and milder winters have seen dustings as early as the New Year.

A symbol of hope and purity, the snowdrop is celebrated as one of the first signs of new spring life.

Given the picturesque change to Northern Ireland's already beautiful landscape, the National Trust has recommended some the its best 'snowdrop walks'.

Springhill, County Londonderry

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snowdrops (3)

snowdrops (3)

snowdrops (3)

Open daily, you can take a self-guided walk through the grounds of Springhill, a 17th-century 'Plantation' home with walled gardens and parkland, where a display of snowdrops will complete any picture.

Booking is not required. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/springhill for more details.

Rowallane Garden, County Down

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 Rowallane Garden. Credit: Kyle Lamb

Rowallane Garden. Credit: Kyle Lamb

Rowallane Garden. Credit: Kyle Lamb


The team at Rowallane Garden have planted more than 130,000 snowdrop bulbs over the past ten years and a stroll through the grounds will allow to take in several different varieties.

Pre-booking is recommended. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/rowallane-garden for details.

The Argory, County Armagh

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The Argory. Credit: Bernie Brown

The Argory. Credit: Bernie Brown

The Argory. Credit: Bernie Brown

Open every weekend from January 9, The Argory boosts beautiful carpets of snowdrops. Look along the banks of the Lime Tree walk and you will not be disappointed.

Pre-booking is recommended at weekends. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-argory for more information.

Castle Coole, County Fermanagh

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snowdrops (1)

snowdrops (1)

snowdrops (1)

Made up of 'broadleaved' trees like oak, beech and horse-chestnut, Castle Coole's woodland features carpets of herbs and wildflowers. Before leaves begin to appear on the canopy above, some of the first flowers to emerge are snowdrops. The Beech Walk has been touted at the best place to spot snowdrops, sheltered under the oaks on the main drive.

Grounds are open daily and booking is not required. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-coole for more.

Castle Ward, County Down

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Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Snowdrops at Castle Ward

Better known for its show of bluebells, Castle Ward's snowdrops are also worth a look. Large clusters appear along Laurel Walk, Strangford Avenue and on the lawns in front of the mansion.

Pre-booking is recommended. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward for details.

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry

Featuring some of Northern Ireland's most breathtaking views, Messenden Temple and Downhill Demesne are also home to snowdrops. Strolling through Bishop's Gate and into the Black Glen, the flowers can be spotting in the shady, moist conditions.

Grounds are open daily and booking is not required. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mussenden-temple for more information.

Belfast Telegraph


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