Walsingham Abbey opens grounds for charity snowdrop display

WALSINGHAM ABBEY SNOWDROPS
Gatekeeper, Bronwen Lotis with some of the 5,000 snowdrops potted up for sale to the public
WALSINGHAM ABBEY SNOWDROPS Gatekeeper, Bronwen Lotis with some of the 5,000 snowdrops potted up for sale to the public
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The spectacular sight of more than a million snowdrops drew visitors to Walsingham Abbey at the weekend.

Families, with children playing the traditional game of searching for fairies, wandered through a blossoming white carpet covering 18 acres.

WALSINGHAM ABBEY SNOWDROPS
Molly and Billy Sparshatt search for fairies amongst the snowdrops

WALSINGHAM ABBEY SNOWDROPS Molly and Billy Sparshatt search for fairies amongst the snowdrops

The display first opened to the public in the 1950’s and numbers, plus the variety of species, have grown ever since.

This year around 5,000 were potted up in bunches of five to sell to the public.

Each year the proceeds of the event support a local charity. This year it is the turn of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. In previous years, St John’s Ambulance, the Gurkha Welfare Trust Norfolk branch and Walsingham’s Royal British Legion women’s section have benefited.

The show of one of the first plants to flower each year is not thought to be romantic, yet organisers reckoned this year’s display was at its peak on Valentine’s Day.

That was a around a week later than normal because the cold weather during January and February held back the full glory of a small flower, of which there are around 20 varieties, which originated in Europe and the Middle East.

Some believe it may have been introduced to this country by the Romans but there is stronger evidence it arrived in the 17th century and has flourished ever since, especially as Mediaeval herbalists believed it to have medicinal properties which helped with diseases such as polio and Alzheimer’s disease.