Having enjoyed a quiet half term at home, by weekend we were itching to get out for some fresh air and exercise, so we headed off to Rode Hall near Congleton, home of the fabulous Just So Festival, to blow away some cobwebs on their famous annual snowdrop walk.
On what was probably one of the wettest and miserable days we’ve seen so far this year, we were undeterred by the weather and determined to enjoy a day out at Rode Hall. Wrapped up against the elements, we headed off into the Old Wood to explore the glorious hide and seek woodland, and to see if we could find all of the willow animals dotted around. These are new this year and the simple act of looking up and down and all around for these willow creatures makes for an interesting adventure for children and adults.
We were given the job of finding the seven woodland creatures, some were hidden up trees, around corners, hovering over ponds, lurking in the undergrowth, it was a real job to find them all, but there’s a certain satisfaction in finding them all and having a good look at these beautifully made willow animals.
The woodland walk is approximately a mile long, but we spent a little over two hours exploring the woodland and finding all the interesting little nooks and crannies, like the grotto, the stew pond and the sugar pool, it felt very magical and you can see why it is the perfect place for the Just So Festival. Walking down to the lake we enjoyed drizzly views of the boathouse and Birthday Island, it all felt very Swallows and Amazons.
I was thrilled to see that as well as the snowdrops we’d come to see, that some of my favourite winter flowers, Hellebores (the pink flower above) were in abundance. The Old Wood is a fantastic place to explore whatever the weather and even in the depths of February it is full of life and interest.
After our time exploring the woods we headed to the more formal areas, the rose garden, past the summer house and Colonel’s Walk and into the walled kitchen garden. By this time we had worked up an appetite for some lunch and thankfully they have a rather excellent tearoom complete with a roaring fire.
The tearoom is a gem of a place, the menu is packed with homegrown and homemade treats. I opted for a couple of Staffordshire oatcakes filled with melted cheese, hubs had a chicken and bacon pie with peas and gravy and the boy had a sausage bap. The homemade cakes looked so good we were powerless to resist, so we didn’t, besides we’d earned a treat!
I love a good tearoom and I can say with confidence that the Rode Hall tearoom is one of the cosiest and best I’ve been to in a long time.
The Rode Hall Snowdrop Walks end on 6th March, but if you miss out this year, their bluebell walks begin on 30th April, an event we have already penciled in our diary!
Rode Hall Snowdrop Walks 30 January – 6 March
Open Tues – Sun 11-4pm (Closed Mons)
Admission £5/Children 5-15 £1
For more information visit their website www.rodehall.co.uk/snowdrops