Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

Hopton Hall - Snowdrop Time
w/e 13 February 2005
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Hopton Hall

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 Hall.
Snowdrops and Aconites

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 the country.
Beneath The Trees

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.
Hens And Doves

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 Croquet Lawn

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!
Spring Garden

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.
Wildlife Lake

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.
More Snowdrops

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.

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