Calke Park - 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 varied landscapes of grassland, arable farmland and one of Europe's rarest habitats - wood pasture. Along the way you will visit Ticknall Limeyards, which date back to the fifteenth century, managed now to allow calcareous grassland flora to thrive.

Route details

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

Calke Abbey Limeyards walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

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

  1. Begin at the northern edge of the main car park with your back to the ticket office. Use the gravel path then down steps to the pond. Turn right and follow the deer fencing to the top of the hill, until it meets the old park boundary wall close to an interpretation board.

    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. Turn left for 20 metres then go through the gate on the right. Turn left, cross stile and walk down the field to cross the lane leading to White Leys Cottage on the left. Continue ahead.


    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 turn right and follow the footpath along the wall on the left. Go over a stile and now keep the hedge on the right to meet woodland at the edge of Ticknall Limeyards.

  4. Continue ahead along the wide stoned track that bears right. Look out for a path descending on the left. This leads to a stile by a gate. For a slight detour to see the orchids in summer turn right after the stile. Return to the path and turn right.

    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. Follow the path (a quarry face over on the left). Cross another stile. You are on the route of Ticknall tramway. This path weaves its way through the woodland. Walk under a bridge then through a gate; next admire the old limekiln with a bridge over it. Continue on the stoned path cross another bridge as you progress. Interpretation boards give the history of the area.

    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. Eventually you meet a tunnel. Go through it to another stile. Cross it and after 10 metres turn left following a stoned path up to a gate. Turn right to walk along the stoned path by the hedgerow. This is the route of the National Forest Way marked by yellow topped posts with orange discs

    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. Follow the route through open parkland, use the narrow gate and cross the open area aiming downhill to reach the next marker post at the edge of the woodland pasture. Walk on, cross a track to eventually pass between two ponds. Next ascend steps after a gate. A number of Calke's ancient trees (some over 800 years old) can be seen on the left.

  8. Keep to the upper path to return to the car park.

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

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.7 miles (3.35 km)
  • 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. Dogs welcome but please keep on a lead as there are livestock in surroundings fields.

  • How to get here:

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

    By bus: Service 61 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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