It’s a scene that would likely have brightened the mill workers’ days 200 years ago – and one that will be repeated again over the next month.
The arrival of Quarry Bank’s snowdrops happens like clockwork and this year’s display of more than 10,000 at the National Trust property near Wilmslow promises to be one of the best yet.
Senior gardener Anthony Callan explained: “It’s generally seen as the first sign of spring, which is one of the reasons people love to see the snowdrops.
“It brightens up a darker time of the year and is seen by some as a sign of hope.”
Snowdrops were not recorded as being a native species to the UK until the late 1700s, around the time Quarry Bank was built.
As the area provides ideal growing conditions for the delicate flowers – damp woodland and meadow areas – it is highly likely the mill owners and their apprentices would also have looked forward to their arrival at the end of January each year.
To ensure a great display in 2020, Quarry Bank’s gardeners have been clearing leaves giving the snowdrops chance to grow uninhibited.
A dark mulch has been used to enrich the soil and will provide a contrast with the white blooms as they begin to open over the course of the next month.
Most of Quarry Bank’s snowdrops can be found around the Apprentice House, Other good spots to see them include the bluebell glade, The Nuttery and on the tennis lawn in front of the mill.
“When they are in drifts they catch the breeze and bob around on the wind,” commented Anthony.
“Different types of snowdrop catch the light and the wind in different ways and that’s one of the things I love to see at this time of year.”
About Quarry Bank
One of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites, Quarry Bank in Styal is a unique survival of a complete industrial community.
The National Trust site includes the historic cotton mill; the mill owner’s home; the Apprentice House; picturesque gardens; an extensive estate; and much of Styal village – which was once home to the community who worked in the mill.
Quarry Bank Mill is the centrepiece of a £9.4million National Lottery Heritage Fund project to transform the site.
The Quarry Bank Project has seen new spaces opened up to visitors for the first time and a regular programme of exhibitions and events, alongside the digitisation of the archive and engagement work with the wider community.