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Snow drops, ponies and animal tracks: great outdoor things this week in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:15 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:15 23 February 2017

Woodland at Walsingham Abbey is carpeted with snowdrops which can be visited until march 5. Picture: Ian Burt

Woodland at Walsingham Abbey is carpeted with snowdrops which can be visited until march 5. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

See swathes of snowdrops and early spring flowers at Raveningham, Oxburgh, Thorpe Market and Walsingham, while get up close to ponies and tracking at Sheringham Park.

Snow Drop Walks

Raveningham Gardens, Norfolk, until February 28 (not Sat), 11am-4pm, £5 (£4.50 cons), under-16s free, www.raveningham.com

Final chance to see snowdrops at Raveningham Gardens, home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon. These incredible gardens, were the labour of love of former owner Pricilla Bacon, who lived at the hall for 50 years. The gardens feature an 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian conservatory, Edwardian rose garden, huge herbaceous borders. There are swathes of snowdrops throughout the main gardens. Proceeds go to Priscilla Bacon Lodge.

Snow Drop Walks

Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, near Swaffham, February 25-26, 11.30am/2.30pm, free with normal admission charges £9.60, £4.80 children, £24 family, 01366 328258, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Snowdrops are still in evidence for these guided walks at Oxburgh, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Join in or wander independently around Oxburgh’s woodlands and take in the stunning carpets of snowdrops, aconites and other spring flowers. Trails are available for families. Also March 4-5/11-12.

Snowdrop Sunday

St Margaret’s Church in Thorpe Market, near North Walsham, February 26, from 1pm, thorpemarket.org.uk

This Sunday offers the last chance in 2017 to visit the snowdrops and aconites and enjoy home-made cakes at St Margaret’s Church in Thorpe Market. Snowdrop Sundays have become an institution at the church over the past 20 years, with more than 800 people visiting the events in 2016. Last Sunday 432 visitors enjoyed afternoon tea at the church and strolled through the award-winning conservation churchyard. The featured artist will be Rosalie Osborne Gibb, who will be joined by wrought-iron specialist craftsman Nick Woolston.

Snowdrop Open Days

Walsingham Abbey, until March 5, £5, £2.50 children aged 6-16, www.walsinghamabbey.com

There are some 18 acres of woodland carpeted with snowdrops to explore at Walsingham Abbey. Carpets of snowdrops mingled with aconites have naturalised throughout the woods, and along the banks of the River Stiffkey which runs through the Abbey Grounds. The origin of snowdrops at Walsingham is obscure: but snowdrops are commonly found growing at former abbeys and priories such as ours. These are the first flowers of spring, reappearing when it seems still to be the depths of winter, so symbolic of new life and renewal. The High Street Gate will be open for admissions at weekends (cash only).

We Love Ponies

Redwings, Spa Lane, Aylsham, February 24-27, 10am-4pm, admission free, 0870 0400033, www.redwings.org.uk

Late half-term fun at Redwings Aylsham celebrating all the great things about ponies. Get up close and cuddly with mischievous Miniature Shetland ponies The Gangsters, enjoy special guided tours with members of the centre’s care team and even have a go at pony grooming yourself. There may be a small charge for some activities.

Trail Cameras and Mammal Tracking

Sheringham Park, Norfolk, February 25, 10.30am-1.30pm, £17.50, 0344 2491895, nationaltrust.org.uk

Mammals are secretive and are often difficult to observe in the field. Trail cameras offer a great way of capturing some close up views and rarely seen behaviour. This workshop is a chance to learn the basic operation and where to place them to get good results. You will also explore Sheringham Park looking for the signs mammals leave behind - their tracks, feeding signs and poo.

Magic of Minsere

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve, February 26, 9.15am, £8, £4 children, plus normal reserve entry fees for non-members, pre-book 01728 648281, www.rspb.org.uk

Never been to Minsmere before? With over 5,600 recorded species and a wealth of history and archaeological highlights there is much to discover. The RSPB’s friendly and knowledgeable guides will take you through the sights and sounds to be enjoyed at this time of year. Walks generally last 2-3 hours and are tailored according to visitor knowledge. Also on March 4 and 12.

Walk with the Warden

Cley Marshes, March 1, 10.30am-12.30pm, £5, £3 children, pre-book 01263 740008, www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

Winter walk led by Bernard Bishop, the reserve warden for 40 years and the third generation of his family to work at Cley. It offers chance spend a fascinating couple of hours in his company exploring this wonderful wetland reserve as winter turns to early spring. There are only 10 places on each walk so booking in advance is required.

Other Watton and Swaffham events

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Stepping in to Charlotte Rampling’s duplex in Paris’s 16th arrondissement, I meet not one glamour-puss but two. Joe, a magnificent Red Maine Coon, glides down the stairs as we shake hands. I’m privileged: he rarely greets strangers.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lambs – cute, cuddly and at a farm near you. As farmers have their hands full dealing with Spring newborns, you can see this marvel up close too.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

See swathes of snowdrops and early spring flowers at Raveningham, Oxburgh, Thorpe Market and Walsingham, while get up close to ponies and tracking at Sheringham Park.

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