In the early spring, when there’s a frost on the ground, the trees are bare, and there’s still a chill in the air, one flower braves its way into blooming. Iconic and beautiful, these tiny droplets of flowers are the first sign of spring and can be scattered across the Devon region, notably in densely wooded areas. Here’s your guide on where to find the best snowdrops in Devon!
Often said to be the most beautiful village on Dartmoor, the quaint settlement of Lustleigh can be found somewhere on the road between Bovey Tracey and Moretonhampstead. And with a population of just under a thousand residents, you don’t come here for the typical tourist attractions.
Instead, there’s a quaint pub, lovely Medieval Church, and many a great hiking opportunity. During the springtime, be sure to head to areas of the village such as ‘Lustleigh Cleave’ (rather confusingly both the ancient woodland and the village pub bear the name ‘The Cleave’), as well as Pullabrook Woods for the best of the snowdrops.
Pretty to wander around and the perfect day trip from the English Riviera (that is to say Torquay, Paignton, or Brixham), Cockington is best-known for its chocolate box houses and central pub serving hearty meals. The hidden gem of the English Riviera, this tiny settlement is only accessible via several winding lanes.
Elsewhere in this matchbox village, the Cockington Estate is home to a grand country house, a church that’s a museum of sorts (and is open to the public free of charge), and plenty of walking opportunities. In February time, Cockington is awash with beautiful snowdrop blooms, especially along the pathways surrounding the lakes.
Easy to visit as a day trip from Exeter, or as a stopping off point en route further up the country, Killerton House and Estate is now owned and managed by the National Trust. Once the 18th-century family home of the Aclands, with the current house having been created at the behest ofS ir Thomas Acland, 7th baronet.
Today, the house is welcoming and cosy: a collection of Grade II* listed buildings that boast features such as ornate furniture and plush furnishings. The gardens are also Grade II* listed and are best seen in the late spring/ early summer when the rhododendrons are in bloom and the magnolia is at its best. Head to the house during springtime, and you can expect to find plenty of beautiful snowdrops, particularly in the wooded areas surrounding the estate.
Dartington Hall & Gardens
Free to visit and a beautiful day out all year ’round, Dartington Gardens can be found on the fringes of the historic town of Totnes. Dartington Hall Estate dates all the way back to Medieval Times and of particular note is the tower of the Former Church of St Mary, the crumbling remains of a 13th-century parish church.
Today, the Dartington Hall Trust is a registered charity which runs various programmes, including educational ventures and summer schools. The gardens surrounding the Great House are free to visit (though you’ll have to pay for parking) and are the perfect spot to wander around, snapping photos of all of the beautiful Devonian snowdrops!
Rosemoor RHS Garden
For the ultimate florally-inspired day out, you simply must visit Rosemoor RHS Garden. After all, of all the places to find snowdrops in Devon, it doesn’t get much more iconic than this public display garden run by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Situated close to Great Torrington, the park has been welcoming visitors and members of the public since 1967, though Rosemoor is several decades older than this. Today, the gardens are best known for their namesake Clematis, 2000 variety rose garden and arboretum.