Bluebells around the wider estate
The steep climb on this walk leads to far reaching views across three counties and is a fantastic opportunity to explore and experience spring emerging. There are a variety of different trees budding and an abundance of bluebells and other spring flowers.
A challenging route for experienced walkers
Please make sure you take water and are wearing appropriate clothing. This is a lovely walk with dogs but please be aware you cross farmland which may have grazing livestock so dogs should be kept on a lead. There are no toilets or refreshments on this route.
Calke Abbey car park, grid ref: SK366226
Starting from the main car park head towards the house- walking past the stableyard on your left. Turn right when you reach the gates on your left and walk across the meadow towards the raised reservoir.
From the reservoir head towards the corner of the main drive. Take the unmade track on the left. Walk down towards the white gates and go through the gate on the right onto the surfaced walk/cycle way.
Continue to follow this path. On the right in the shelter of the belt trees are many bluebells. If you look across you can see the Pistern Hills where our walk takes us.
Continue on the path downhill and through a wooded area. When the path meets the road turn right continuing along the same path which now follows the route of the old tramway parallel to the road.
Staunton Harold Church
You are passing close to Staunton Harold Church which is cared for by us. The church was built in 1653 and is a rare example of a church built in the Commonwealth Period when Lord Cromwell was Lord Protector of England Divert off the track and cross the road into Staunton Harold Estate if you wish to visit.
Take care as the path crosses a road junction. Go under a bridge, the follow the tramway as it makes a right turn away from the road. Opposite is South Wood, a wonderful habitat for birds, bats and other species. It was once the route of the tramway to Ashby.
Calke Abbey tramway
Originally built in 1804 as a horse drawn tramway, it was used to carry limestone and other lime products to the canals at Ashby. The cost of extending the canal from Ashby to Ticknall was deemed too expensive as it would have involved creating a number of locks. The Harpur-Crewe family insisted that where the tramway passed through the Calke Estate it was hidden from view. As a result the pathway is screened by trees and hedging and passes through tunnels along its route.
Walk beneath another bridge. Come out of the cutting and past the farm gates and walk between a field. You will come to two path gates leading off either side of the tramway - be careful not to carrying on walking and miss the gates.
Our walk goes through the gate on the left and follows the waymarked path upwards. Climb over a stile into the next field, then almost immediately go over another stile on the left. Cross this field to a bridge with stiles and then cross the next field to climb a stile onto the track leading to Heath Farm. Cross the track and follow the path towards the woods and another stile. Before entering the woods pause for breath and turn to admire the Calke Estate stretched out in front of you.
Climb up the path which follows a little valley in the woods, turning left and over a stile towards the top. Once you have reached the top follow the path through a gap in the hedge. Walk diagonally across an arable field and then across the next field towards the dead tree and a stile. Climb over the stile and walk alongside a hedgerow in the next field. Opposite Pistern Hill Farm take a right turn to follow the path alongside the hedge and then straight across another field to the footpath sign and gateway in the distant corner beneath the telegraph poles. TAKE CARE HERE YOU ARE APPROACHING ASHBY ROAD WHICH HAS FAST TRAFFIC - ENSURE CHILDREN AND DOGS ARE SAFE. Cross Ashby Road diagonally left towards the stile and footpath sign. Follow the path between the enclosed National Forest and the hedge. Turn left and continue round behind Elms Farm. Sometimes the llamas are in the adjoining field.
As you come out from behind Elms Farm turn right away from the entrance and to Daniel Hayes Farm. Turn left to walk along the verge to enter Mereoaks Lane. This is a lovely old green lane with lots of bluebells along the way. There are also glimpses of far reaching views across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and in the foreground the Calke Estate.
This lane is about a mile (1.6km) long. As you come to the end, just as the trees end, turn left around the corner of the National Forest plantation and then right through the gap in hedge beside a footpath sign. Following the footpath along the edge of the field down to the road, Coal Lane. Crossover and walk straight through The Oaklands National Forest and over a stile with older woods and bluebells on your left, having passed a man-made pond on your right. Turn right having past the pond and over a stile.
Walk straight up the field to the hedge on the brow of the hill, then downwards towards a gate and house. If you have a dog with you beware there are often sheep in this field just over the brow of the hill. Climb over the stile, turn left towards Ticknall and carefully walk along the road edge, crossing over at Top Farm onto the pavement.
Follow the pavement across the junction and past Tramway Cottage. Then opposite Pottery House rejoin the tramway where the footpath sign is. Turn left on joining the tramway and follow it to the tunnel. Just before the tunnel go up the slope on the right and into the field through a gate. Cross this field and the next one heading towards a gate with stile and Middle Lodge which can just be glimpsed.
By the 1530s a thriving pottery industry existed in Ticknall utilising local clay. This industry continued until the 1880s when the last pottery was closed at Pottery House. Most products were dairy and kitchenware and sold across the Midlands for four centuries. Our Calke Archaeology Club revealed an old road, constructed of pottery waste! Bit of broken pots, pots that did not fire successfully and bits of kiln furniture.
Pick up the newly-made pathway and continue through the gate and out onto Raggs Close below Calke Park entry. Walk diagonally down across the driveway to pick up the track which continues towards Betty's Pond and Thatch House Pond. Pass through the gate and up the steps. Then walk along the top and back to the main car park.
Calke Abbey car park, grid ref: SK366226
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