Hopton Hall - Snowdrop
w/e 13 February
this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
A foggy start to the day in Ilkeston soon gave way to broken
cloud and sunny spells but by the time we had driven the twenty
miles or so north westwards to the other side of Wirksworth,
it had become quite misty again. Our objective was the village
of Hopton near Carsington Water or, to be more precise, Hopton
The Hall and approximately 30 acres of grounds were purchased
in the spring of 1996 by Mr & Mrs Bill Brogden, at which
time the gardens and grounds were totally overgrown. In the eight
years since then with the help of their manager, Spencer, they
have cleared and restored much of the woodland which has resulted
in a fine display of snowdrops and aconites (the yellow flowers)
each February, rivalling some of the best snowdrop gardens in
It took about five years for the grounds to be improved sufficiently
for them to be opened to the public but now the Brogdens are
able to make charitable donations to the NSPCC, the local school
and the church from the proceeds of the admission charges. They
are also able to finance further restoration and development
work and the displays of snowdrops beneath the trees are getting
better year on year as more woodland is cleared.
Visitors are encouraged to follow a marked path through the grounds
and this enables them to see hens roaming free in the woodland,
ornamental pheasants in an aviary converted from the former dog
kennels and white doves in the walled garden. The doves have
taken up residence in the summer house which is currently being
repaired. New homes have already been provided but the doves
are yet to move in.
The route from the walled garden leads around the Croquet Lawn
which is surrounded by a number of statues in various stages
of dress (and undress). Some of the ladies on the north side
looked decidedly chilly clutching just one garment to maintain
their decency whilst on the south side a pipe playing male made
do with just a leaf. His adjacent compatriot, fully clothed,
looked discreetly in the other direction whilst resting with
his spade. Now that's my sort of gardening - leaning on a spade.
Not sure about the hat though or the hand on hip pose!
Leaving the statues behind, the path leads through the Spring
Garden between two interconnected ponds. The water channel between
the ponds is to the left of this picture.
Beyond the second pond is the Wildlife Lake and at the bottom
corners of this view, some of the trees planted in 1999 in Eddy's
(Bill's wife) Arboretum can also be seen. When the Brogdens first
moved in to Hopton Hall, the Arboretum was a rough paddock.
But at this time of year the overriding attraction has to be
the snowdrops. The return to the starting point of the circular
route leads back to the Hall and then through more of the woodland
where there are lots of these delightful flowers to be seen.
I took quite a number of photos during our visit to Hopton Hall
and was hard pressed to know which to use here, hence a number
of composite shots. If you would like to see most of the above
at a larger size and more, including some taken by my wife Sandra
with the Kodak DC280, you'll find an set at Flickr - click here.