Calke Park - Ticknall Limeyards walk

Calke Park, Ticknall, Derby, South Derbyshire DE73 7LE

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White-clawed crayfish, Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust

White-clawed crayfish, Calke Park, Derbyshire

Male fallow deer in the deer park. © Don Godfrey

Male fallow deer in the deer park.

Common spotted orchids at Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust

Common spotted orchids at Calke Park, Derbyshire

The Lime Avenue at Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust

The Lime Avenue at Calke Park, Derbyshire

Route overview

This tranquil walk will take you through a varied landscape of grasslands, arable farmland and one of Europe's rarest habitats - wood pasture. Along the way you will take in the Ticknall Limeyards, which date back to the 15th century - recently managed to allow calcareous grassland flora to thrive.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the Ticknall Limeyards walk at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Calke Abbey main overflow car park, grid ref: SK367226

  1. Begin at the back of the main overflow car park and take the steps down to the ponds. Turn right and follow the deer-fencing to the top of the hill, passing through a wooden gate.

    Show/HidePonds and white-clawed crayfish

    Built by the Harpur Crew family in the 18th century, Calke's ponds were originally used for fishing and recreation. The estate is very proud to be home to the native White-clawed crayfish. In recent years, the species has been persecuted by the American-introduced Signal crayfish. Work has recently been undertaken to restore Calke's historic weirs and water quality, thereby improving the habitat for the White-clawed variety.

    White-clawed crayfish, Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust
  2. Veer left, exiting through the wooden gate and continue along the clearly defined footpath, through three fields, past White Leys.


    Calke has a mixed herd of deer, including red and fallow species. The deer park was established in 1988 to exclude them from the Pleasure Grounds. Their antlers are lost in March and April, with the regrowth soon after. Fawning happens in June and rutting in October.

    Male fallow deer in the deer park. © Don Godfrey
  3. At the wall, follow the footpath along the hedge. Go over a stile and head past the woodland on your right. This will take you into the Ticknall Limeyards.

  4. Continue along the wide gravel track which will take you through the limeyards. For a slight detour to take in the orchids, turn left down the gravel footpath and over the stile. Afterwards go back to the main track and pass three cottages on your right. Carry on until you reach the main road.

    Show/HideLimeyards and spotted orchids

    Although the area has now been reclaimed by nature, hidden underneath are spoil heaps, rock outcrops and limekilns. The Limeyards were designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with over 4,000 common spotted orchids reaching their peak here from late June to early July. Other lime-loving plants such as twayblade also thrive on the site.

    Common spotted orchids at Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust
  5. Turning left, pass under the arch. Carry on past the main entrance to Calke Park and take the next footpath on the left, over the stile after the cottage.

    Show/HideLime Avenue

    Coming down the main driveway of the park, you will pass through the Lime Avenue. There are 82 lime trees which were planted as saplings in 1846 to mark the birth of Sir Vancey Harper.

    The Lime Avenue at Calke Park, Derbyshire © National Trust
  6. Continue straight along the footpath passing over two stiles and past a pond on your left. After going through another stile, follow the footpath along the hedge line. Halfway down this field the footpath veers to the left, follow this heading.

    Show/HideWood pasture

    These areas are grazed by sheep and longhorn cattle during the summer to suppress the growth of shrubs and saplings, encouraging a diverse grassland structure. The veteran trees - one of which is over 1,000 years old - play host to an enormous diversity of invertebrates and fungi, such as the rare Oak polypore.

  7. Cross over a stile and follow the path down the field. Cross over the stile in the wall, follow this footpath back into the park and head downhill.

  8. At the bottom of the hill, cross the main drive and head up towards the Fisherman's car park. Take the track off to the right to take you past the information board and on between the ponds.

  9. Ascend the steps over the stile and carry on to the left. This will take you back up to the main overflow car park.

End: Calke Abbey main overflow car park, grid ref: SK367226

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles (5km)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 128
  • Terrain:

    This circular route has stepped and stone paths, kissing gates and stiles. The route takes you alongside a main road for a short distance. Enquire at the property for more accessible routes. Dogs welcome but please keep on a lead as there are livestock in surroundings fields. Please place dog litter in bins provided.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: National Cycle Network traffic-free route 5 miles (8km) away. See Sustrans for details.

    By bus: Service 69/A Derby-Swadlincote (passing close to Derby), alight Ticknall then 1.5 (2.5km) mile walk through park to house.  Burton-on-Trent is 10 miles (16km) away.

    By car: 10 miles (16km) south of Derby on A514 at Ticknall. M42/A42 exit 13 and A50 Derby South.

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