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Calke Park wildlife walk


As well as a grand Baroque mansion with a large natural history collection, Calke has secret walled gardens and a parkland, much of which is a National Nature Reserve.

A tranquil walk with lots of interest

The park is a rich and varied landscape of grassland, ponds and wood pasture – one of the rarest habitats in Europe. You’ll also find majestic veteran trees and some great bug-watching sites. There are no public roads at Calke so it's perfect for a peaceful walk.

Greater spotted woodpecker on a branch
Will you see or hear a woodpecker? National Trust


Map route for Calke Park wildlife walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Calke Abbey main overflow car park, grid ref: SK367226


Begin at the northern edge of the main car park with your back to the Ticket Office. Use the gravel path then down the steps to the pond. Look for dragonflies in the summer. Turn right and follow the deer fencing to the top of the hill, until it meets the old park boundary wall.

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Turn left away from the deer fence and follow the path near the wall through the parkland and then along through the Serpentine Wood. This is a good place to see bluebells in spring. Also look for signs of badgers (paths, tracks and diggings).

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Go through the kissing gate and follow the woodland path, which bears round to the left.


Come out of the wood into the Fisherman's car park. To see the oldest tree in the park, he 'Old Man of Calke', walk a short way beyond the car park through a wooden kissing gate on the left. The tree stands 55yd (50m) on the left and is protected by railings. Return to the car park.

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Follow the stepped path down from the car park to Betty's Pond and go between the two ponds, then ascend the steps over the stile. A number of Calke's ancient trees (some over 400 years old) can be seen around Betty's Pond.

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Follow the narrow stoned then stepped path down from the car park to Betty's Pond. Bear left and go between the two ponds. Next ascend the steps after a gate. A number of Calke's ancient trees (some more than 800 years old) can be seen on the left.

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Damselfly on a reed
Brightly coloured damselflies are a common sight in our outdoor spaces © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey


Calke Abbey main overflow car park, grid ref: SK367226

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Calke Park wildlife walk


Circular walk with stepped and stoned paths, kissing gates and a stile.

Calke Park wildlife walk

Contact us

Calke Park wildlife walk

How to get here

Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derby, South Derbyshire DE73 7LE
By train

Derby, 9.5 miles (15.2km); Burton-on-Trent, 10 miles (16km).

By road

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

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 bicycle

National Cycle Network traffic-free route 5 miles (8km) away.

Calke Park wildlife walk

Facilities and access

  • Restaurant and gift shop at Calke Abbey