How many spring flowers can you spot at Hughenden?
Snowdrops and bluebells line the drive and nestle amongst the woodland and parkland at Hughenden Manor.
A perfect setting
The wooded slopes near Hughenden offer a perfect setting for spring flowers. The sunnier banks are the first ones to show these colourful signs of spring but the woodland walks retain the colour for longer. Before our entrance, spot golden daffodils - earlier than ever this year. The first cloud of bluebells is glimpsed along the drive heading towards our car park. For many it is the mass of snowdrops that creates the greatest impact. Others enjoy wandering the parkland and turning the corner to see a clump of colour. Whilst not strictly a spring flower, as the season progresses the apple blossom in the orchard is a wonderful sight hinting at the size of harvest.
Over recent years the rangers and volunteers have planted thousands of additional snowdrop bulbs along the drive. The added impact will be magnified year by year – conservation started by staff and volunteers to which nature lends a helping hand. In mild winters, snowdrops in sheltered places can be seen from late December.
Strong winds can bring fallen trees so volunteer path wardens regularly walk the paths armed with strong secateurs and other tools to keep walks clear. Such volunteers adopt one path as their own and many record seasonal and annual differences.
Flowers you may spot
Snowdrops and other early flowers add characteristic colour to the views and walks around Hughenden. They also provide forage for the bees on the days when the sun is strong enough to raise the temperature. The Pleasure Gardens showcase snowdrops and primroses.
Our unlikely Victorian prime minister, Disraeli, loved spring flowers and engineered havens for them as he created paths such as the German Forest circular walk, marked with purple way markers. Woodcock Walk is a 2km or one and a half mile walk, mainly flat and appropriately marked with blue signs as you'll see bluebells along the route.
On your winter walks, look out for the spring flowers emerging and share your photos with us. Introduce younger members of the family the joys of our natural treasures. Or perhaps you’d like to volunteer to join others who help the rangers in their conservation work?