Enjoy outdoor adventures at Calke Explore

Children enjoying the natural outdoor play area at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Calke Explore is open all year round, offering lots of opportunities to get outdoors and active at Calke Abbey, with easy access to walking and cycling routes, natural play areas and a new refreshments kiosk.

What is Calke Explore?

Calke Explore is the perfect base to start your outdoor adventures at Calke Abbey, offering lots of opportunities to get outdoors and active.

Situated in a peaceful woodland area away the house and gardens, you'll find a car park, toilet facilities, a Changing Places toilet and refreshments kiosk. Calke Explore has easy access to walking and cycling routes, exciting natural play areas nestled in the woods, and spaces for relaxation and reflection.

Things to see and do at Calke Explore

Whether you’re planning a family day out, a gentle bike ride, or a walk with the dog, Calke Explore has something for everyone, whatever the weather. With easy access to the wider estate, you can jump straight on the Tramway Trail – a family friendly walking and cycling route with hard paths, making this a great wet-weather route. 

Families are invited to come out and play at Calke Explore, where you’ll find a natural woodland play area. Kids can go wild in nature from spring all the way through to winter! 

If you’re looking for a moment of peace, there’s plenty of space for reflection and refreshment at Calke Explore. With new benches overlooking the wetlands, and a courtyard with covered and uncovered seating, you can relax with a cuppa among the sights and sounds of nature. The Food and Beverage kiosk is open at weekends from 10am–3pm (weather dependant).

Hop, skip and jump at Calke Explore
Children playing in a natural outdoor play area at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Hop, skip and jump at Calke Explore

Cycling at Calke Explore

Find your pedal power at Calke’s cycle hire facility which is open now at Calke Explore. It is located within close pedalling distance of the Tramway Trail - Calke's multi-use accessible trail. With hard surfaced paths, a relatively flat terrain and figure-of-eight route, it’s ideal for beginner cyclists and anyone seeking a picturesque ride through the countryside. Cycle hire is available every weekend, school holiday and bank holiday from 10am to 4.30pm (last hire 2.30pm). To read our guide for happy cycling, follow the link below. 

The Tramway Trail cycle route at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Cycling at Calke Abbey

Embark on a two-wheeled adventure around the estate at Calke Abbey.

Orienteering from Calke Explore

In collaboration with Derwent Valley Orienteers, we have created two brand new orienteering courses leading you on an exploration of the parkland from Calke Explore. Navigate yourselves from marker to marker in order to collect a series of letters with the goal of spelling out a Calke related phrase. We have two routes available to suit different abilities: a junior (shorter) route and a senior (longer) route. Both routes will take you on a scenic journey around the estate whilst keeping you challenged and entertained.

Both of the orienteering maps are available to buy for £1.50 from the cycle hire facility at Calke Explore. Should this be closed, you can also purchase the maps from the main Ticket Office and Shop.

Conservation and sustainability

As part of our commitment to creating a healthy, natural environment, we’re taking steps to make Calke Explore as green as possible – from large-scale projects to protect the habitats in the area, to introducing new recycling bins and environmentally friendly hand dryers.

We’re even banning single-use cups from the new Food and Beverage kiosk – instead, we’re encouraging visitors to bring a keep cup with them. You’ll receive 25p off your hot drink, and you’ll be helping us reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Accessible Calke Explore

Everyone is welcome at Calke Explore, and we’ve been looking at how we can create solutions for accessibility at the new site, so that you can enjoy the parkland fully. You'll find 10 accessible parking bays next to the facilities, a disabled access toilet, and an adult Changing Places facility if you have additional needs.

Calke Explore is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, with a short trail suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, as well as direct access to the Tramway Trail – a flat, circular route with a hard surface. Families can be inspired by nature in the human-sized badger sett, which is wheelchair accessible.

If you'd like more information about access, get in touch or speak to a member of the team when you arrive. We'll be happy to help.

When you immerse yourself in nature, we can continue to protect and preserve Calke's special outdoor spaces. Thank you for your support.