Calke Park (Staunton Harold) walk

Calke Park, Ticknall, Derbyshire DE73 7LE

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
In spring and summer, wild meadow flowers flourish in Calke Abbey's lawns © National Trust

In spring and summer, wild meadow flowers flourish in Calke Abbey's lawns

Swan and cygnets at calke abbey © Bill Cove

Swan and cygnets at calke abbey

Red deer, pictured on the Calke Estate © National Trust

Red deer, pictured on the Calke Estate

Small owls can often be seen sitting on posts in Calke's deer enclosure © National Trust

Small owls can often be seen sitting on posts in Calke's deer enclosure

Carpet of bluebells in Calke Estate's Serpentine Wood © National Trust

Carpet of bluebells in Calke Estate's Serpentine Wood

Route overview

Enjoy this delightful stroll around Calke Park's Staunton Harold Reservoir, taking in the sites of St Giles Church and Calke Abbey itself. For a springtime detour, why not follow our additional route (red dotted line on the route map), which will lead you to a carpet of bluebells in May.

Route details

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

Route of the Staunton Harold trail at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

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

  1. Follow the exit road from the main car park, walking past the front of the Abbey, the church and the entrance of Home Farm, which takes you into Calke Village.

    Show/HideCalke Abbey

    Sir John Harpur built the mansion seen today between 1701 and 1704. Named Calke Abbey in 1808, it incorporates the original Elizabethan house and is built on the site of a 12th century Augustinian priory. The lack of agricultural input on the main lawns in front of the Abbey has enabled a diverse range of wild meadow flowers to flourish. Look out for yellow cowslips in the spring and yellow rattle in the summer months.

    In spring and summer, wild meadow flowers flourish in Calke Abbey's lawns © National Trust
  2. Turn left at the main road, which will take you into the reservoir car park.

    Show/HideStaunton Harold Reservoir

    The name Staunton comes from the local term for limestone, while Harold was the 12th century Lord of the Manor. The reservoir holds 1400 million gallons and was built by Severn Trent Water between 1957 and 1964, to supply the city of Leicester.

    Swan and cygnets at calke abbey © Bill Cove
  3. Walk along the Severn Trent permissive path along the boardward to the weir.

  4. The path takes you along the deer fencing, around the deer enclosure and back into the park.

    Show/HideDeer enclosure

    At one time, Calke's deer herd would have roamed the park but they are now confined within the park's large enclosure. The stags are particularly spectacular in October during the rut, when they are at their most active and noisy.

    Red deer, pictured on the Calke Estate © National Trust
  5. Optional detour: Where the deer fence turns left, downhill, you have the option of following the path straight on (dotted red line on the route map), keeping the stone wall to your left. Alternatively, if taking the shorter route to return to the walk start point (red route line on the map), follow the deer fence as it turns to the left and proceed towards the Abbey.

  6. If following the shorter route (red line on the map), turn right here and continue to the walk starting point at the car park. (If following the detour route, skip straight to direction point 7).

    Show/HideThe bird hide

    A bird feeding station was erected in 2009 and was shortly followed by the hide in the autumn, which was constructed by a volunteer warden. Visitors are encouraged to record their sightings in the folder provided. Also, be sure to look out for some of Calke's little owls, which can very often be seen sitting on posts in the deer enclosure during the day. Other birds seen in this enclosure include all three species of woodpecker and summer visiting spotted flycatchers.

    Small owls can often be seen sitting on posts in Calke's deer enclosure © National Trust
  7. Detour continued: Continue to follow the track (from point 5 on the route map), passing Serpentine Wood on your left.

    Show/Hide Serpentine Wood

    Calke's Serpentine Wood is one of the best places to see carpets of bluebells in May.

    Carpet of bluebells in Calke Estate's Serpentine Wood © National Trust
  8. Go through the small gate and up the steps, keeping the ponds on your left. Follow the high path back to the car parks.

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

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 2 miles (3.4 km) = shorter route (red), 2.8 miles (4.6 km) = longer route (black dotted) -
  • Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour (allow extra time if stopping to view the lambs in spring)
  • OS Map: Landranger 128
  • Terrain:

    The route has stepped and stone paths with kissing gates. A section of the walk is along a wooden boardwalk alongside water. Enquire at the property for more accessible routes. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads, as livestock graze in the surrounding fields. Please place dog litter in the bins provided.

  • How to get here:

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

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

    By car: 10 miles south of Derby on A514 at Ticknall. M42/A42 exit 13 and A50 Derby South. It is signposted in brown from the A42

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