February is snowdrop time and thanks to my friend S and the wonders of Instagram, we were inspired to venture out to Colesbourne Park in Gloucestershire where the Elwes family are snowdrop specialists.
On the way, we did a slight diversion by way of Stroud Farmers’ Market for some lunch and a wander. My husband had this organic beef burger for the grand sum of £3.50.
The beauty of a market is that you don’t have to have the same thing or eat off the same menus and I had raclette, the melting cheese scraped off this huge semi circle onto boiled potatoes. We ate at communal tables in one corner of the market and bought tea, coffee and cake from a little cafe there.
Colesbourne Park is in the Churn Valley about ten miles from Cheltenham and is open for special snowdrop weekends all the way through February, with the proceeds from the entrance fees going to charity. It isn’t just snowdrops that you can look at but swathes of cyclamen, aconites and hellebores as well which makes it even more special.
As the Elwes family are galanthus specialists, they also sell plants in a marquee in the courtyard by the main house and were doing a brisk trade with enthusiasts.
As you walk through the grounds, we came across the blue lake; the unusual colour of the water is thought to be due to suspended (colloidal) clay particles in the water.
We stayed the night at hotel near Gloucester and ate that night at the Royal Exchange Hartpury, a pub serving local foods well as meat from its own farm about a fifteen minutes away. With the fire going fiercely in the woodburner, scrubbed pine tables and really friendly service, we ate local pork belly and steak and felt cosy, content and replete.