Reflections trail at Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire, DE73 7LE

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
An azure damselfly resting on field scabious © Helen at Frog End Wildlife

An azure damselfly resting on field scabious

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

Take in the beautiful views of the original drive and discover hidden views and spaces 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 main overflow car park and walk down the steps to the ponds. Follow the path round to the left when you meet the deer fence.

  2. Pause awhile here and admire the view of the chain of ponds or look for dragonflies in the summer. Follow the path through the gate and up the hill, keeping the deer enclosure on your right, until you meet the old park boundary wall.

    Show/HideDamselflies

    This azure damselfly is one of many that can be seen around the ponds at Calke. Others include the common blue and blue-tailed damselfly and the brown hawker dragonfly.

    An azure damselfly resting on field scabious © Helen at Frog End Wildlife
  3. Turn left keeping the old wall on your right and follow the path through the Serpentine wood.

    Show/HideWildlife

    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
  4. Once the wall ends the path continues through a gate and the woodland bearing to the left.

  5. Eventually the path exits the woodland, walk down the grassy slope to the small car park and take the right-hand stepped path down the hill until you reach the weir between Betty’s Pond and Thatch-house Pond.

  6. Pass through the gate to your right and follow the path directly uphill, through the wood pasture until you 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.

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

    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. Follow an approximately 150m short detour uphill to take in the old deer shelter. After viewing, return downhill to the carriage drive until you reach 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. Please place dog litter in the bins provided.

  • How to get here:

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

    By bus: Number 69/A, Derby to Swadlincote (passing close to Derby), 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.

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