Snowdrops galore at ‘too hidden gem’ 60-acre wood near Brackley

Sixty acres of picturesque woodland near Brackley is seeing its most popular time of the year with snowdrop season, but not enough people know about it.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 9th February 2019, 8:21 am
Updated Monday, 11th February 2019, 9:08 am
The Evenley Wood Garden team. (L-R) Gardener Tom Clarke, owner Nicola Taylor and events organiser Alison OHare NNL-190802-122629001
The Evenley Wood Garden team. (L-R) Gardener Tom Clarke, owner Nicola Taylor and events organiser Alison OHare NNL-190802-122629001

This February is only the second that Evenley Wood Garden has been open full-time to the public to walk among the 80 different varieties.

Some are worth hundreds of pounds for a single bulb with the late owner, Timothy Whiteley, privately building his collection with plants from all over the world.

Snowdrops at Evenley Wood Garden NNL-190802-122536001

Before his death in 2017, only galanthophiles saw the snowdrops up close, but his daughter, Nicola Taylor, decided to open the wood to share their beauty with everyone.

“You think it’s freezing cold, you can’t barely see underneath them but people come from all over to look at the snowdrops,” she said.

“I’m delighted, don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted they want to come and look at the snowdrops because it helps pay for the wood.”

The wood’s snowdrops include Evenley Double, Ophelia, Pusey Green Tips, Hill Poe, Atkinsii as well as the grand Lady Beatrix Stanley, Lady Elphinstone and the mythological Hippolyta.

Snowdrops at Evenley Wood Garden NNL-190802-122546001

Experts can tell the differences by looking at the petals, inner flower, stem and leaves, but the uninitiated can enjoy them just as much.

But snowdrops are far from the only thing to see at Evenley Wood, with something different popping up all through the year.

Hundreds of other flowers, from daffodils and bluebells in spring to magnolia, azleas and rare lilies later in the year, create a rainbow of colour across the forest floor.

Evenley Wood is also unique as a band of acidic soil runs through it, which is perfect for exotic plants like blue meconopis poppies from China to thrive alongside 350 types of roses which prefer the more common alkaline earth.

Tall trees guard the wood from the elements, allowing visitors to enjoy the winding stream, meadow and ‘the bowl’ in peace – all very ‘Instagrammable’.

A cafe also serves hot food and drinks at the weekends, there is a full calendar of events which bring the wood to life, and it is a popular place for weddings .

Events organiser Alison O’Hare described the rural haven as a ‘too hidden gem’ and the team hopes more and more people come for a stroll.

Nicola said families and older people are the most common visitors but all are welcome, dogs can be walked on a lead and children’s entry is free.

The wood is just outside Evenley, off the A43 south of Brackley.

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