The winter goes on and shows no sign of abating. I am cold to my very bones but I love to be outside and I know that the younger members of my family do too. The greatest challenge of this winter has been the lack of sunshine. A gloomy, grey darkness has hung over our part of the country for what seems like forever. This morning the weather forecast promised sunshine, so we layered up, put boots in the boot and went in search of hope in the form of bright sun and beautiful snowdrops on a Snowdrop Walk at Moggerhanger Park in Bedfordshire.
We walk through a beautiful Woodland Playground with wooden climbing frames, a slide, nets and balance beams.
In an attempt to avoid the hail, we venture into the woods for some cover. The hail tippy-taps on the branches and the leaves and just as I am starting to wonder what possessed me to go for a walk today we are greeted by dabs of brilliant white on the woodland floor.
The flash of bright green and white brings life to the otherwise dormant woodland. The snowdrops appear right up to the edge of the paths, so we are careful to stick to the marked pathway and preserve the snowdrops for others to enjoy. Plenty of fresh bark and chippings cover the paths. You could bring an off-road buggy but it does get narrow in places and muddier the further we stray from the café.
The snowdrop trail is a series of laminated cards tied to the trees, with little facts about snowdrops and a letter of the alphabet. We collect the letters along the way and eventually unscramble them to form the name of the Moggerhanger Park Unicorn… don’t get excited… we definitely didn’t see any evidence of a ‘real’ unicorn.
At the edge of the woods there are spectacular views across rolling fields. There are little clumps of snowdrops in some places and blankets of white and green in others. Having found all the clues on the snowdrop trail we head to the Garden Rooms Café, a vintage building reminiscent of a well-kept WW2 prefab.
The café is lovely and warm but also heaving, with a queue to the entrance and no chance of a table. I send the boys outside to run along the walled garden and I wait nearly 20 minutes for two take-away coffees. As I wait I witness confusion over orders, people who have eaten their food before their drinks arrive and all the time the queue grows and people give up and turn away. The cakes and coffee on offer in the Garden Rooms Café are lovely but the service is very slow and disorganised, especially on a busy Sunday. You have been warned! In future I will be bringing my own flask of hot tea and snacks for everyone.
Then, in a moment of divine intervention, the sun comes out to ease my frustrations! We walk back through the Woodland Trail, through the dappled sunlight in the woods and I can’t resist stopping to take photographs of the snowdrops illuminated in the gold glow of winter sunshine. The Snowdrop Walk is particularly beautiful in the sunshine: more vibrant and optimistic.
When we get back to the car park it is jam-packed and cars are parking this way and that, wherever they can make-up a space. If Moggerhanger Park could sort out the café and the parking then it would be a haven. I suppose these are minor frustrations to contend with given that entrance to the park is free and I’m sure we will be back again.
TOP TIPS FOR THE SNOWDROP WALK AT MOGGERHANGER PARK
- Moggerhanger Park is in Moggerhanger, Bedford, MK44 3RW
- The Woodland Trail is muddy in places, so bring wellies or sturdy boots.
- The Snowdrop Walk trail sheets are available in the Garden Rooms Café. Take a pencil or a pen with you, so you can fill your form in. Entry to the Woodland Trail is free.
- The Garden Rooms Café can get really busy and service is slow, so bring a picnic or some snacks if you’re planning to stay for a while.
For more ideas of fun-filled things to do, events and activities in February half term have a look at my guide to 50+ Things To Do In February Half Term.
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