Spring and woodland flowers at Calke Abbey

Wisteria in the gardens at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Spend a little time reconnecting with nature this spring. We’ve discovered some of the best spots to find spring colour around the estate, so you can enjoy more time breathing the fragrant spring air.

Bright highlights in the gardens

The gardens are a delight in spring, home to an array of fragrant flowers – including a stunning display on the auricula theatre. A rare survival of nineteenth-century display gardening, the theatre was originally designed to show off prize specimen auriculas and to preserve the blooms for longer.

May is the perfect time to see a bright display of potted auriculas on the theatre – a perfect spot to capture bright and colourful photographs. Later in the season, the theatre is adorned with a summery display of pelargoniums. 

In the rest of the gardens, the borders are bursting with a medley of wallflowers and roses, and you’ll find pops of colour around every corner to lift your spirits. Sit back in the garden deckchairs and spend a few minutes taking it all in – it’ll do wonders for your wellbeing. 

The auricula theatre in spring
Auricula theatre in Calke Abbey's gardens, Derbyshire
The auricula theatre in spring

Meadows and wildflowers

With over 600 acres of parkland, there are plenty of hay and wildflower meadows at Calke – many of which are grazed by the flock of rare-breed Portland sheep. Among an abundance of wildflowers are yellow rattle, bee orchids and common twayblade – but a real treat this season is the cowslip meadow in the Pleasure Grounds.

The Pleasure Grounds surround the house and garden and can be accessed as part of the outdoor admission fee. Follow the paths through the grounds for a gentle stroll among these pretty flowers. 

A carpet of cowslips covers the Pleasure Grounds in spring
Cowslips in the Pleasure Grounds | National Trust Calke Abbey | Derbyshire
A carpet of cowslips covers the Pleasure Grounds in spring

It's bluebell season

Wherever you go at Calke this spring, you're bound to stumble across a breath-taking carpet of bluebells. One of the best displays is in Serpentine Wood – take a relaxing stroll through the trees and discover a sea of blue blooms. Download the bluebell walk using the link below. 
If you’re visiting Calke Explore, follow the winding path through the woods to find another spread of untouched bluebells. It’s a magical experience. 

Please help us to look after this protected species by keeping to the paths, and make sure dogs are kept on leads. Did you know that half of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK? Thank you for helping us to conserve this important part of our heritage.  

Bluebells in Serpentine Wood at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Spring bluebell walk

A short spring walk at Calke Abbey through the best places on the estate to see bluebells.

Orchids of the Limeyards

June is the perfect time of year to take a longer walk to Calke's fascinating Limeyards to see the orchids in bloom. With hundreds of orchids blooming in spring, it's also a haven for wildlife.

The Limeyards have a rich industrial history, and you can still see the remains of this once-industrious part of the Calke Estate. Why not come along to one of our guided walks to learn more about this area of Calke, and the work we do to protect and preserve it?

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Limeyards are carefully managed by the ranger team at Calke. The estate's Hebridean sheep are used to graze the area in autumn time, then after cutting the area, a team of volunteers helps to rake up and remove cuttings away from the site.

Turn off your phone and tune in to nature this spring. When you come to recharge and reconnect, it helps us look after these green spaces for years to come. Thank you.

Summer is the perfect time to see orchids growing in Calke's parkland
Orchids at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Summer is the perfect time to see orchids growing in Calke's parkland