Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Exmoor

Snowdrop Valley is located half a mile north of the village of Wheddon Cross in the valley of the River Avill.  The land is privately owned by the Badgworthy Land Company but they allow free public access to Snowdrop Valley during the snowdrop flowering season c. late Jan - early March each year.  Badgworthy is pronounced Badgery, if you are interested.

There is a small car park in the centre of the village and a very large overflow car park a few hundred metres down the road towards Exford.  This is the car park for the Exmoor Farmers Livestock Auction.  The footpath down to Snowdrop Valley is clearly marked but be warned it can be very muddy and a bit slippery, so walking boots or wellington boots are a necessity.  It is downhill all the way, which means of course that it is uphill all the way back! 

If you don't want to walk there or are unable to do so, Cutcombe Parish Council, in conjunction with Exmoor National Park Authority, runs a Park and Ride Service to Snowdrop Valley on certain days and staffs the Snowdrop Valley Information Point in the Car Park.  The footpath around Snowdrop Valley itself is fairly flat and slightly less muddy than the path down to it but I wouldn't recommend walking round in ordinary shoes or trainers.  

Snowdrop Valley is located on a narrow lane.  This is closed to all traffic except the few residents who live on it and the park and ride minibus during the snowdrop season, as there are few passing places and there is nowhere to park along it anyway.

There is a café in the Moorland Village Hall in Wheddon Cross, which is run on a rota basis by various local groups at weekends and on some weekdays during the snowdrop season.  They offer simple lunches, tea and cake.  There is also a pub called the Rest and Be Thankful Inn and a B&B that runs a tea room in snowdrop season.  These are both in the middle of the village.  The Exmoor Farmers Livestock Market also has a café, which is open some days and there is a village shop, so one way or another you don't need to go home feeling hungry or thirsty.

Snowdrop Valley is popular, so you are unlikely to have it to yourself unless you go at first light or dusk or on a weekday but not when it is the school half term holidays.  It is possible to do a variety of longer circular walks from Wheddon Cross, which incorporate Snowdrop Valley.  I have done 3 different ones of 8-10 miles but I am sure there are many other possible variations.

Most of the valleys and many of the hedgerows in West Somerset at this time of year have some snowdrops but I haven't seen anywhere else in Somerset that has this many in one place.  However if you don't like mud or flowers it isn't the place for you.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

 River Avill

 Picking of the snowdrops is prohibited

More snowdrops

 River Avill

 River Avill

Old Weir

 Yet more snowdrops

 snowdrops

snowdrops

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