LORD Lansdowne’s 30-acre pride and joy at Bowood House will open two weeks earlier this year thanks to the unseasonably warm weather.

Originally due to reopen for its annual six-week run on Friday, April 28, the Woodland Gardens, complete with its magnificent display of rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and azaleas, opened two weeks early on April 13 in time for the four-day Bank Holiday Weekend, as an unexpected Easter treat.

Visitors are encouraged to discover the burst of colour from the garden’s three distinct stages – early flowering, the bluebell flush and the appearance of azaleas – which usually occurs over six weeks but has been accelerated by the unusually-warm weather.

"The season is way ahead of itself – by as much as three weeks,” said Bowood’s owner, Lord Lansdowne said. “Frost, snow and hail are still potential threats but if we escape these, it is going to be a magical year.

“Just look at the blossoms on the blackthorn in the hedgerows or the cherry trees in front gardens – they are ablaze! Azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons are burgeoning with flower buds.”

In the hopes of raising awareness of Mental Health Week, Bowood will also be promoting the sense of wellbeing attributed to spending time in the great

outdoors by hosting hour-long Mindfulness Walks, from Sunday, May 7 to Sunday, May 14, led by Mindfulminds instructor Linda Thomas.

To book a place on the Woodland Gardens walk, between 9.30am and 10.30am, email houseandgardens@bowood.org or call 01249 810961.