Snowdrops days are rained off

Rowena Archer
Rowena Archer

Hanwell Castle’s popular annual Stars and Snowdrops event has been called off at the last minute because of rain-drenched grounds.

The event is held on the second weekend of February to allow visitors to see the vast colonies of snowdrops and also to see the exceptional community observatory which houses powerful telescopes for stargazing.

Rowena Archer of Hanwell Castle said: “With great regret, we have been forced to cancel Stars and Snowdrops this year because of the state of the woodland walk.

“It is far too swampy here and the route is so flooded and churned up it would simply be a miserable experience for everyone, to say nothing of the hazardous conditions.

“We did not take the decision lightly as we know how the ‘regulars’ have come to see it as the first outdoor event of the year when people are ready to get outside again.

“January’s record rainfall has meant the snowdrop paths will be unsafe for the number of visitors that Stars and Snowdrops generates. We are deeply sorry for having to do this but it is the only safe option.

“However, we are planning to have an open weekend in September to replace the event.”

Dr David Shirt, one of the members of the Hanwell Community Observatory, has a weather station at Chipping Norton and has reported record rainfall during January.

On January 28 he reported: “At 7.30am we passed another meterological milestone – three times the average rainfall for a month.

“That makes it more than twice as wet as our previous January record and comes on top of a December that had 2.2 times the usual rainfall. And still the rain comes down!”