In gardens, woodlands and hidden valleys, winter is receding and spring is on its way, bringing with it a wealth of spring flowers in Devon. From carpets of bluebells and daffodils to towering magnolia and rhododendron, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to enjoy spectacular floral displays across the county.
This extensive stretch of ancient woodland, with its peaceful, timeless atmosphere, is not only smothered in bluebells during the spring, but also boasts species such as wood anemones, wood sorrel, early purple orchids, sanicle and golden saxifrage, making it a must-visit destination for plant lovers.
The sheltered gardens of this 1920s Arts and Craft style coastal retreat allow a range of exotic and tender plants to grow, including some rare tree species. In spring it’s a great place to spot azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias in the woodland garden, as well as enjoying wonderful views out to sea.
If you can tear your eyes away from the spectacular views across Bideford Bay and the Taw and Torridge estuary, this moderate walk offers some stunning spring flower sights. From blazing gorse and blossoming thorn bushes to bee orchids and water garmander, there are more than 500 species of flowering plants in the area, which is part of North Devon’s first designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
This award-winning garden and tea room is famed for its spectacular display of narcissi in the spring, which line the banks of the river with its picturesque mill. Bluebells, wild garlic and magnolias are also on display, and later in the season the bog garden is bursting with candelabra primulas.
For one of Britain’s best daffodil displays, head to the riverside glades within this 140 acre nature reserve. Set on the edge of Dartmoor by the River Teign and managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust, Dunsford is also a great place to spot fritillary butterflies, which have been in decline in the UK over the last 30 years due to the destruction of their habitats.
This challenging four mile walk is well worth the effort, offering spring bloom sightings including the delicate white wild carrot and the blue starbursts of spring squill. Part of the South West Coast Path, the route also boasts spectacular coastal views and a wealth of wildlife.
The Acer Glade at this iconic destination is the place to be during March, when it is smothered with a sea of naturalised crocuses. As the season progresses, look out for azaleas and rhododendrons, and don’t miss the large magnolia underplanted with delicate fawn lilies in the bulb meadow, where snowdrops, cyclamen, irises and dwarf daffodils can be seen until mid-April.
There are 30 acres of glorious gardens and woodlands to explore in this tranquil valley, set within Dartmoor National Park. Enjoy daffodils, bluebells and large displays of rhododendrons, as well as woodland walks, bog and fern gardens and a wild flower meadow. Part of the National Garden Scheme, visiting dates are limited, but visitors are also welcome by arrangement between April and October.
This 18th century property really comes to life in the spring, with many different places to enjoy seasonal flowers. Don’t miss Ashclyst Forest – one of the largest woods in east Devon and a great place to spot bluebells – the Plains with its carpet of daffodils, and Front Park, where the cattle-cropped grass is dotted with lesser celandine.
Tucked away in a secluded valley just four miles from Barnstable, this 20 acre dog-friendly garden boasts three lakes and around 80 magnolia hybrids, which look glorious in early spring, floating above a carpet of narcissi. As the season progresses enjoy the wisteria on the pergola, as well as more than 800 cultivars of camellia.
by Cartwheel blog editor, Rin Hamburgh