Spring is the perfect time of year to see the gardens in north Cornwall and Devon blooming, with flowers blossoming, spring bulbs emerging from the ground, and fresh buds appearing on the trees. With the weather warming up and plants shaking off the cold of winter, now is the best time to see nature in full swing. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites nearby, so have a read and see which to visit this season.
Spring Gardens in North Cornwall and Devon
Open between 11 March and 5 October, Docton Mill Gardens is a wonderful display of flowers and plants, boasting an expansive bog garden, a 140 meter long herbaceous border, a wild flower garden, a magnolia garden, a woodland garden and a greenhouse area. In spring, visitors will see an impressive display of narcissi, primulas, camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and a blanket of bluebells covering the woods. Docton Mill was also voted the best tea room in North Devon at the North Devon Food & Drink Awards, so stop by the café for a cream tea or freshly-made sandwich during your visit. The gardens are located a 30 minute drive from Bude and visitors can park free.
In a sunny, sheltered part of the north Devon coastline, Clovelly Court Gardens are usually a month ahead of the rest of the country in terms of seasons, with exotic plants thriving in the walled gardens, safe from the harsh coastal winds and salty sea air. Although spring is a particularly good time to visit, there is something to enjoy all year round, with lots of glasshouses providing a warmer environment for plants. The village also boasts some beautiful floral displays, and last year, for the third year in a row, it won a gold award in the South West region of the RHS Britain in Bloom competition, so be sure to have a walk around Clovelly to see the residents’ hard work. Clovelly is 30 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Rosemoor is a huge garden surrounded by woodland, an idyllic expanse of 65 acres that has something to see in every season, but is particularly impressive in spring, tipped as one of the most beautiful gardens in north Cornwall. With a fruit and vegetable garden, a stone garden, and cottage garden, RHS Rosemoor is a lovely setting in which to enjoy the new growth and blooming flowers. On Tuesday 20 March the garden is hosting an open day, inviting members and non-members to the gardens for free, with golden daffodils carpeting the floor. Rosemoor’s Garden Kitchen has also won best garden centre restaurant in Wales and the south west for the fourth year in a row, and much of the produce featured on the menu is grown in the garden, so stop for a bite to eat. Rosemoor is a 45 minute drive from Bude, near Great Torrington.
Although uncultivated and wild in nature, Dunsdon National Nature Reserve is a beautiful grassland that’s rich in wild flowers and home to a great range of wildlife. The reserve is 80 hectares in size and provides an expansive area to explore, blending meadow and wet woodland habitats with traditional Devon ‘culm’ grassland. Look out for kingfishers, goosanders, dippers and otters on the river, with several wild orchid species to find in the grasslands too. The reserve is just 20 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Merging art and culture in lovely surroundings, Broomhill sits within a sheltered valley surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland. The garden’s glorious planting is really quite special, and made even more spectacular by the addition of wondrous sculptures dotted throughout the gardens, making up one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in the south west of England. Broomhill is an hour’s drive from Bude.
A 16th century property surrounded by beautiful gardens, Hartland Abbey also has lots of woodland areas, which were grown on either side of the abbey to shelter the building from the worst of the strong winds that blow off the sea. Hosting spring flower days throughout the earlier months of the year, visitors will be able to see daffodils, camellias, hellebores, early spring bulbs, mimosas and a range of wild primroses and violets within the walled gardens and along the woodland paths. The orchard is also a popular attraction, and visitors can easily walk to Atlantic Cove from the gardens, a remote and quiet section of the South West Coast Path that offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and cliff scenery. Hartland Abbey is 30 minutes’ drive from Bude.
Although it has over four acres of gardens to explore, including a wildflower trail and teeming pond, it’s not necessarily the plants you’ll be looking at in The Gnome Reserve. The attraction is home to over 2,042 gnomes, a record-breaking collection of characters that are dotted throughout the gardens in north Cornwall. On entry, visitors are provided with a gnome hat and fishing rod, designed to help guests to ‘blend in’, and providing the perfect opportunity for a family photo. The reserve is a 30 minute drive from Bude.
Only open on select days throughout the year, Andrew’s Corner is a wonderfully secluded spot just under an hour’s drive inland from Bude. Featuring a lengthy season from February to October, the garden has far-reaching views over the open, rugged moor of Dartmoor, and there is a wide range of unusual trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to see during a visit, with a kitchen garden and flock of chickens too. Visitors with children also have some help keeping the kids entertained with fun quiz sheets, enchanting fairy doors and a children’s playhouse. The garden can be accessed outside the specified dates and times by appointment by calling 01837 840332.
If you’d like to book a holiday in Cornwall to see the beautiful gardens nearby, book your stay with us by calling 01288 389800.