Calke Park deer shelter walk
Ticknall, Derbyshire, DE73 7LERoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Explore Calke’s new wetland area and discover a preserved 18th-century deer shelter on this pleasant amble through an ancient parkland landscape.
- Bus stop
Start: Main overflow car park at Calke Abbey, grid ref: SK367226
From the main car park follow the exit road past the stables and the front of the abbey. Before reaching the church, turn right towards the deer shelter, which is visible through the trees.
The Calke Abbey building team have recently preserved this interesting building to prevent it deteriorating further. It 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.
Carry on past the deer shelter keeping the fence on your left and following the lightly defined path in the grass.
Turn right on reaching the stone wall and follow the wall to the main drive. Cross straight over here and walk down the side of the road, turning left onto a track. You'll pass the covered reservoir on your right. Henry Marley Burton designed the new water supply to the house in 1865 specifically for fire fighting after a potentially devastating fire at the abbey. The water was taken from Pistern Hills along cast iron pipes.
Climb over the stile and turn right, taking you into the new wetland area. At this point you might like to take a detour along the boardwalk on your right. Afterwards continue along the track, crossing over a stile at the end.
At the heart of the park is a series of two culverts and a weir, located between four ponds. The ponds were created in the 18th century and were used for fishing and recreation by the Harpur Crewe family of Calke Abbey. They now provide an important wetland habitat for a range of wildlife. A project to improve water quality in the pond system and give a further habitat for the native white clawed crayfish resulted in this wetland area. It acts as a natural sediment trap as water flows in from the surrounding areas.
Follow the fence line on your right around this field and cross over the first stile you come to.
Stroll through the woodland on the path and over the stile at the end.
Enter the field and head uphill, pass through the series of stiles on your right to reach Rag's Close car parking area.
Cross the road and pass through the gate on the other side. Veer right across this field in a diagonal direction towards a large bar gate. This will take you into the National Nature Reserve.
Calke was designated a National Nature Reserve in September 2004 due to the quality of its wood pasture. The parkland includes some of the oldest trees in Europe, with two oaks dating back over 1,000 years. These trees pre-date the park and original house. Much of the dead wood on the estate is left where it has fallen to give a valuable habitat for invertebrates, many species of fungi and woodland birds. Nine species of bat have been recorded in the park. It is the only recorded site in the area for one species: the serotine bat.
Take the path to the right through the woodland. This path will take you through to the Fishermans Car Park. Walk across the car park, travelling downhill to the right, and follow the stepped path down towards the ponds.
Veering to the left, pass the information board over the stile and take the steps going up. Carry on straight along this path to take you back up to the main overflow car park.
End: Main overflow car park at Calke Abbey, grid ref: SK367226
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 2 miles (3.2km)
- Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- OS Map: Landranger 128; Explorer 245
The route takes you over rough grassland. It also has stepped and stone paths, kissing gates and stiles. Enquire at Calke Abbey for more accessible routes. Please note, dogs are not permitted, as the route takes you through the new wetlands conservation area
- 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 Station), alight Ticknall then 1.5 miles (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. Signposted from the A42
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