Reflections trail at Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire, DE73 7LE

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A stunning carpert of bluebells at Calke Abbey © NT/ Peter Allman

A stunning carpert of bluebells at Calke Abbey

See the house from the original drive © National Trust

See the house from the original drive

Imagine this as the finest deer shelter © National Trust / Gillian Day

Imagine this as the finest deer shelter

Route overview

Enjoy the beautiful views of the original drive and discover hidden corners on this amble through Calke's ancient parkland.

Route details

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

A map of the reflections trail at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Main car park

  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.

  2. Turn left away from the deer fence and follow the path near the wall through Serpentine Wood.

    Show/HideWildlife in Serpentine Wood

    Spot yellow archangel and bluebells in the woodlands in spring, and self-heal and sheep's sorrel in the grasslands. Birds of prey such as hobby, buzzard and the occasional red kite may be seen, as well as woodland birds such as woodpeckers, tree creepers, nuthatch, starling and tits. Over half of the UK's 16 bat species have been recorded here, and the rough grassland is home to voles, shrews, wood mice, weasels and stoats. Badgers make their homes in the woods along with over 350 types of beetles which thrive on the dead wood.

    A stunning carpert of bluebells at Calke Abbey © NT/ Peter Allman
  3. Go through the kissing gate at the end of the wall and follow the woodland path which bears round to the left.

  4. Come out of the wood into the Fisherman's car park.

  5. Follow the narrow stoned then stepped path down from the car park to Betty's Pond. Bear left and go between the two ponds.

  6. Take the gate to your right and follow the path directly uphill, through the wood pasture which is part of the National Nature Reserve. Do not cross over the stile but bear right to meet an avenue of ancient oak trees after 30 metres. Turn left to follow the avenue and then continue straight ahead to meet the road.

  7. Cross the road and turn right walking parallel with the road until you meet the park boundary wall.

  8. Turn left and follow the track keeping the wall on your right until you enter a small copse of trees and a large white gate ahead. Look out for bat boxes fixed to some of the trees.

  9. Turn left and follow the old main carriage drive now stoned.

    Show/HideOld drive

    This is the original drive to Calke and is the route that people would have taken in their carriages. Imagine that you are visiting the house for the first time and reflect on this impressive view.

    See the house from the original drive © National Trust
  10. Take a short detour right; uphill to view the preserved deer shelter. Retrace your steps downhill to the carriage drive. Turn right to the road.

    Show/HideDeer shelter

    The shelter was built in the 18th century, amid old ridge and furrow land, to entice deer into the open parkland. The family could then observe them from the comfort of the house. Two hundred years later, red and fallow deer were re-introduced to Calke as an enclosed herd, and you can still see them today.

    Imagine this as the finest deer shelter © National Trust / Gillian Day
  11. Turn left and walk parallel with road until you reach the visitor facilities and car park.

End: Main car park

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Time: 1.5 hour
  • Terrain:

    Circular walk with stoned paths, kissing gates and some steps. Enquire at property for more accessible routes. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads as livestock graze in the surrounding fields.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: National Cycle Network traffic-free route, 5 miles (8km) away

    By bus: Number 61, Derby to Swadlincote , alight Ticknall then 1.5-mile (2.5km) walk through park to house

    By train: Derby, 9.5 miles (15.2km); Burton-on-Trent, 10 miles (16km)

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

  • Facilities:

    Toilets, restaurant and shop are located off the main car park.

  • Contact us