The experts reveal their favourite gardens and wide open spaces to visit at this time of year

Take a bracing walk through a winter landscape bursting with vibrant stem colour, interesting barks, blossoming bulbs and wafts of winter scent.

Snowdrop walk – Kingston Lacy

atch the world awaken at Kingston Lacy and enjoy the famous snowdrop displays on a walk that will take you around the pleasure grounds and into the prestigious history of the Bankes family. The walk is easy to moderate and approximately two miles (or one hour) along gravel pathways and avenues. A great way to embrace the spirit of spring. Entrance fees apply.

Shapwick, Beech Avenue and the Droves

 strenuous six mile walk over moderate terrain. This route takes in some of the highlights of Kingston Lacy estate including the famous Beech Avenue (planted in 1835), Badbury Rings hill fort, the medieval track ways and droves and the ancient village of Shapwick with a convenient pub to help you warm and replenish. Walkers can encounter traffic through the village and afterwards and the tracks are grass and gravel. Visit

Studland Beach

Blow away the cobwebs with a walk on the beach or choose from two waymarked trails of one mile each, ideal for families. Parking, café, shop and toilet facilities are available. You can download one of the selected trails to explore the surrounding countryside.

Corfe Castle

The silhouette of Corfe Castle dominates the surrounding landscape ensuring a dramatic backdrop for any walk. Find your favourite view from the nearby Purbeck Hills, Corfe Common or Hartland Moor. Parking, café shop and toilets are available at Castle View visitor centre.

South Purbeck

he South West Coast Path links up with a network of footpaths to explore a landscape of sea cliffs and limestone uplands. Dancing Ledge, where Purbeck stone was once loaded onto ships, is a favourite attraction. Download one of National Trust’s walks to explore Purbeck’s quarrying heritage.

Hod Hill, Stourpaine nr Blandford

Perched high above a meander on the River Stour, this superb hill fort has the greatest views over rural Dorset. The deep ramparts date back to the Iron Age and Roman period. The walk is one mile but be prepared for a steep climb to the rampart of the hill fort followed by a moderately level walk and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Here are some winter walks that should provide plenty of inspiration to gardeners if you’re travelling further afield 

RHS curators Colin Crosbie, from RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, and Paul Cook, from RHS Garden Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, offer their own favourite winter gardens to explore.

Paul Cook recommends:

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire ( "This year at Harlow Carr we’ve extended our existing winter walk, which runs east to west to catch the best of the morning and late afternoon sun which lights up the fiery stems and outlines the sculptural shapes of the bare trees. Clipped yew and a backbone of conifers and berrying shrubs lend a formal tone to the vibrant cornus and salix stems, Iris reticulata and daphnes under-planted with heathers. The walk becomes less formal as it leads into the beautiful mature woodlands, where giant trees are outlined against the wintry sky and snowdrops, winter aconite cluster below and around boulders cloaked in moss and lichens.”

Dunham Massey, Cheshire ( “It would be hard to come up with a list of great winter gardens without mentioning Dunham Massey. It provides a much-needed burst of scent and colour to walkers and garden lovers alike in the coldest months. Glowing-stemmed silver birches, acers and dogwoods are set off by shrubs and evergreens and a mass of snowdrops, iris and cyclamen carpet the ground. Ornamental Japanese trees mingle with witch hazels and scents waft about the garden.”

Colin Crosbie recommends:

Bodnant Garden, North Wales ( “Bodnant is another new winter garden and is well worth a visit. Its setting looking over the River Conwy and towards the Snowdonia range is hard to top and provides a glorious backdrop to the botanical collection. The new winter garden is set in a slight hollow so that it keeps the fragrant scents of daphnes and lonicera cupped within it and the low winter sunlight catches the vibrant stems of cornus and rubus. It also has a huge collection of snowdrops with more than 20,000 bulbs.”

Colesbourne Park, Gloucestershire ( “The snowdrop collection at Colesbourne Park is one of the finest in England. But this garden has more than just snowdrops. Its well laid-out beds are also full of primulas, hellebores, cyclamen, crocus, snowflakes and aconites to add winter interest. It is ringed with woodland full of beech, Norway spruce, sycamores and maples, thinned out to make walking pleasant, and a small – and famously blue – lake makes for pretty viewing. Don’t miss the magnificent drift of Galanthus S. Arnott that makes Colesbourne famous.”