A new outdoor hub for Calke Abbey

The Tramway Trail is a multi-use trail at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

This year, we’re excited to begin work on Calke Explore – a new outdoor hub for Calke Abbey, which will provide much-needed facilities for our growing number of visitors. 

With over 600 acres of inspiring parkland, there's lots to explore at Calke. While lots of our visitors come to experience the 'un-stately home' and learn its unique history, many people come just to explore and enjoy the ancient parkland surrounding the house and gardens.

The new outdoor hub – which we’ve named Calke Explore after our popular summer play area – will offer these visitors more opportunities to get outdoors and explore more of the inspiring parkland here at Calke.

The Tramway Trail is the perfect cycle route for families
Calke Abbey has extended its family friendly cycling route
The Tramway Trail is the perfect cycle route for families

What is Calke Explore?

Calke Explore will be a new ‘outdoor hub’ located between the park entry point and the main site. The long-term vision for Calke Explore is to create a new building, offering a café, toilets and cycle hire facilities.

Step outside and there will be a new car park, footpaths, cycle routes and outdoor recreation areas, including natural play and nature trails. In the longer term, we’d like to introduce a multi-use room that can be used for leaning and education. 

Explore Calke Abbey on two wheels...
The Tramway Trail multi-use trail at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Explore Calke Abbey on two wheels...

A phased approach

Following an extensive consultation period and planning application, Calke Explore was given the go-ahead in 2017. We’ll be phasing the project over a number of years, and are currently finalising a detailed plan for the first phase, which will be completed by late 2018.

During the first phase, we aim to create access and exit routes through Poker’s Leys woodland, pedestrian routes to the recently extended Tramway Trail and provide up to 100 permanent parking spaces. There will also be space for seasonal facilities including a refreshments kiosk with outdoor seating, toilets and visitor information.

Why is it being built?

Our visitor numbers are increasing and this puts a lot of pressure on the house and gardens. Whilst we want everyone to enjoy everything Calke has to offer, it's our job to protect the heritage at its core.

A lot of our visitors come to explore the wider parkland and our research shows a demand for a better outdoor experience. Calke Explore is intended to offer these visitors new ways to explore the outdoors and discover nature.

Located away from the main site and outside of the historic parkland and National Nature Reserve, Calke Explore will also reduce the pressure on the house and gardens, and ensure that we continue to protect Calke.

Lime Avenue is stunning all year round
Lime Avenue at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Lime Avenue is stunning all year round

When will the hub be open?

Work started on the first phase in February 2018 with tree felling in Poker's Leys woodland, and will be complete by late autumn. More information will follow as we move forward, including an estimated timescale for the work. Watch this space for updates on our progress.

Learn a little more…

Check out our timeline below to find out the latest about Calke Explore. We'll regularly update this page with news articles about our progress, and what we're doing to look after Calke.

If you’d like more information on the outdoor hub, please read our Frequently Asked Questions, which can be downloaded below.

FAQs about Calke Explore (PDF / 0.4MB) download

Tree felling to make way for Calke Explore at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

Tree felling in Poker's Leys woodland 

A number of trees are being felled in the Poker's Leys woodland as we begin work on the improvements to Calke Explore, Calke Abbey's new outdoor hub.

The Tramway Trail cycle route at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

The vision for Calke Explore 

Take a look our vision for Calke Explore. Here you can find the plans and designed that we proposed when applying for planning permission.

Latest posts

09 Nov 18

Connecting Calke Explore

Over the next few weeks, you’ll notice some disruption across the estate as we connect the utilities for Calke Explore. This involves digging trenches and installing pipework underground, which will connect the facilities at Calke Explore to the existing sewage treatment plant at the main site. In addition to waste, the pipework will carry phone and internet lines for the site. It’s a multi-functional pipe! By introducing these new facilities at Calke Explore, we’ll be able to offer visitors more options for their day out while reducing the pressure on the existing facilities. During November and December, we’ll be continuing these trenching works in the Stableyard area, so you may see some temporary diversions in place over the winter, although everything will be open as usual.

Connecting Calke Explore at National Trust Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

30 Oct 18

Felled wood finds a new home

A local National Trust property, the Workhouse, is currently undertaking a project to ‘re-imagine’ the way the property is presented to visitors. As well as creating exhibition spaces and multi-sensory rooms to tell the property’s fascinating story and encourage debate around poverty and social care, the Workhouse is also re-dressing some of its historic spaces. Last week, local craftsman Peter Wood ran chair making workshops at the Workhouse as part of the project, where members of the community made six chairs to be used in the re-presented Workhouse. Peter sources his timber from the Calke estate, and it’s likely that these chairs are made from the felled trees in the Calke Explore site. Waste not, want not!

Chair making workshop at the Workhouse using Calke estate timber, Midlands

20 Sep 18

Access roads start to take shape

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been building access roads into the Calke Explore site, which means lots of large deliveries of tarmac! As we develop the roads, we’ll be adding another layer of material on top of the tarmac so it’s more in-keeping with the rest of Calke, and blends into the natural environment.

Construction at the Calke Explore site at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire