Forest snowdrops herald the arrival of spring | Visit National Forest

Forest snowdrops herald the arrival of spring

Posted on Friday 26th January

Dimminsdale Nature Reserve Snowdrops © National Forest Company/Jacqui Rock

You know you’ve nearly made it to the end of winter when the delicate and dancing heads of the Forest’s first snowdrops begin to appear.

Visit Dimminsdale Nature Reserve, near to Staunton Harold Reservoir  in The National Forest to see stunning drifts of delightful snowdrops carpet the woodland floor.

Just 50 yards from the road bridge, on the B587 towards Calke Abbey, you’ll find the entrance to the woodland. Take a short walk into the woods, and there, if your timing is right, will be masses of snowdrops with their unspoken promise of springtime to come.

Dimminsdale Nature Reserve Snowdrops © National Forest Company/Jacqui RockThe Nature Reserve – a Site of Special Scientific Interest no less is managed by Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. The Reserve’s dingley-dell terrain is a direct result of its history of mineral extraction.  Limestone and lead mining took place in the 18th and 19th centuries and, when these ceased, the quarries flooded to create pools and brooks.  Today the Reserve has the feel of Middle Earth – with its ‘hobbit-y’ pools and winding paths through the mature trees.

Explore the woodland

To reach the snowdrop displays, take the circular path around the pool in the heart of the Nature Reserve. You can walk either way around: take the left hand path clockwise over the bridge, and you will walk around the woodland, up to the top of the hill and drop down to the snowdrops. Take the right hand path, going anti-clockwise, and you will walk through the woods, up and down dale a little, then the glade opens before you: a shimmering white quilt across the woodland floor.  Remember to tread carefully and be sure to stay on the paths – the flowers are delicate and there are several old mine shafts in the woodland.

If it’s not too cold, stay out longer and enjoy this lovely part of The National Forest. The National Forest Way,  our 75-mile long distance walking trail winds its way through Dimminsdale and for a restorative cup of warming hot chocolate try nearby Calke Abbey or the tearoom at the Ferrers Centre.

For directions and further information as to when the snowdrops are looking their best, visit

Dimminsdale Nature Reserve Snowdrops © National Forest Company/Chris BeechHere’s a few facts about snowdrops you might not know

  • Galanthus (botanical name), or snowdrop, is derived from the Greek words for milk and flower.
  • A galanthophile is the name of a person who loves snowdrops and particularly one who collects them.
  • All Galanthus are herbaceous perennials which grow from bulbs.
  • Within the genus there are about 20 species, but there are also numerous cultivators and hybrids – so if you think all snowdrops look the same, look again.
  • The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is the most abundant species – as the name suggests – and flowers between January and April.

How many varieties of snowdrops will you spot flowering in The National Forest this year? Share your pictures by tagging us in with #forestlife @NatForestCo