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Open Features: National Trust Spring Gardens

"Spring has nearly sprung! We are seeing beautiful spring flowers bursting into life in our parks and gardens, a sure sign that the dark winter months are nearly behind us,'' says Sally Airey, bringing information on the National Trust's top spring gardens in the UK.

Sally says:

As National Trust parks and gardens herald the first signs of spring, thereís no better time to explore the great outdoors. From delicate apple blossom and brilliant tulips to meadows brimming with glorious perfume, a stroll in a spring garden is sure to dazzle and amaze.

Even if the weather is dull and grey, thereís plenty of colour to see in the garden; itís time to enjoy nature as it springs to life.

Here are some of the National Trustís best spring displays:

Anglesey Abbey Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

Visit the grounds of this Jacobean house where tree blossom and hyacinths flourish in the garden. Thereís also the winter garden to enjoy with its coloured tree barks, winter flowering shrubs and ground cover plants.

Belton House, Lincolnshire

Donít miss the delicate snowdrops in early spring or, later in the season, the tulips in the Dutch garden Ė a truly uplifting sight. Belton House also promises magnificent, formal Italian gardens.

Blickling Hall, Park and Garden, Norfolk

Visit in May and follow the winding paths through the great wood, and pass through swathes of dainty English bluebells; itís one of the best places to see them in the country. At the heart of the garden, discover one of Englandís great Jacobean houses.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Look out for bluebells and yellow archangel in the woodlands, as well as the ĎOld Man of Calkeí, an ancient oak thatís over 1,000 years old. In the walled gardens explore the flower garden and find beds brimming with pretty wallflowers.

Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Lose yourself in the magical woodland garden with its masses of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, which cascade towards the sea. Weave through glades, past tranquil ponds where tender plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand thrive in the moist and sheltered valley.

Dudmaston Estate, Shropshire

Explore eight acres of this picturesque garden and see magnolias, flowering cherries and kalmias, as well as primroses and daffodils against a backdrop of dramatic rhododendrons.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The UKís largest winter garden continues to flourish, where splashes of bright colour set the place alive. Stroll down camellia walk, spot over 10,000 plants in the brilliant cyclamen grove, see swathes of blue and purple carpet the bluebell meadow and bask in the bright mix crocus, narcissi and iris in the yellow meadow.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Explore the ruins of the twelfth century Fountains Abbey and spot dainty spring flowers breaking through this stunning landscape. The water garden is just as spectacular with its moon-shaped ponds and classical statuary.

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall

Described as a little bit of heaven on earth, this sub-tropical valley garden blooms with magnolias, wild flowers and woodland flora, including drifts of bluebells.

Nymans, West Sussex

This 20th-century garden is famed for its amazing collection of rare and important plants. In spring spot displays of snowdrops as well as camellias and magnolias underplanted with drifts of daffodils and grape hyacinths.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Gwynedd

Overlooking the Menai Straits, with uninterrupted views to Snowdonia the spectacular rhododendrons and garden - the 7th Marquis' pride and joy - the azaleas and magnolias in the Humphry Repton landscape are quite a sight to behold too.

Rowallane Garden, Co. Down

Spring time is one of the most exciting times to visit Rowallane, when the enormous and much-admired collection of rhododendrons burst into colour. The magical walled garden is also a must see for the magnolias, daphnes and azaleas.

Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

Enjoy a spot of woodland and water in this stunning 18th-century landscape garden designed by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton. In spring, enjoy the site of daffodils and bluebells blooming beneath canopies of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Sizergh Castle and Garden, Cumbria

See the brightly coloured tulips on the top terrace, walk beneath cherry blossom in the Dutch garden and enjoy the spring colours in the rock garden. Just five miles from junction 36 of the M6, it is the perfect pit stop.

Wallington, Northumberland

Donít let April showers discourage a visit to spring gardens. Wallingtonís Edwardian conservatory in the walled Garden has a varied and colourful plant collection, making it the perfect place to find shelter.

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

The garden here boasts thousands of daffodils in April, along with a walled vegetable garden, Gothic tower, Chinese bridge and serpentine lakes.

The Weir, Herefordshire

The first daffodils emerged on St Davidís Day and continue to flourish at this serene riverside garden. Created in the 1920s, The Weir covers ten acres and offers dramatic views of the Wye Valley and Herefordshire countryside beyond.

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Images of the spring gardens are available to easily download from: https://ftp.nationaltrust.org.uk/

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