Explore the wider estate at Calke Abbey
Home to birds, bats, butterflies, and trees that predate the house itself, a visit to Calke Abbey is a rare opportunity to explore 600-acres of historic parkland, where hidden wonders lie around every corner, waiting to be explored.
Home to hundreds of ancient trees
The Calke Estate expands over 600 acres of historic parkland, a third of which holds the important status of National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. This ancient wood pasture and its historic avenues are home to over 650 veteran trees, 350 of which are considered ancient.
The ‘Old Man of Calke’ is perhaps our most well-known ancient veteran. At an estimated 1,200 years old, he certainly earns his title, but he’s not alone in being special. His neighbour, another English Oak, is 900 years old.
Many of the trees in the park are thought to be over 400 years old, which means they'd have been over 100 years old during Shakespeare's time! These ancient trees are a mix of species, such as Limes, Field Maples, Ash, Beech and Chestnuts, as well as Oak.
Deadwood is a good wood
Whilst exploring the parkland, you might notice branches that have been lost and left on the ground, as well as entire fallen trees.
This deadwood is an incredibly valuable habitat, and a large part of Calke is so important. The estate is one of Britain's best sites for deadwood invertebrates, and is home to over 200 types of beetle that rely on deadwood – such as the wasp beetle, who mimics wasps to avoid predation.
These trees are made for walking
Have you ever heard of a walking tree? There are several trees walking their way across the landscape at Calke Abbey.
Look out for trees whose branches have bowed low to the ground and taken root, forming a new tree from the old. As the old tree dies, these new trees will continue to grow, slowly (very slowly) moving their way across the land.
A walk in the park
There are lots of ways to explore Calke's amazing and inspiring parkland. Pick up a park map when you arrive and follow way-marked walks, or carve your own path through the estate.
We've pulled together some of the best seasonal walks here, which you can download direct to your smartphone or print off at home.
Looking after Calke's green spaces
Preserving this special landscape takes a lot of work, and we have a fantastic team of Rangers and volunteers who spend every day looking after the parkland at Calke. It costs an average of £375 per day to preserve Calke's outdoor spaces – from tree and wildlife management to yearly hay making.
Your visits to Calke Abbey help us to carry out this vital work – thank you for your support. If you're a National Trust member, every time we scan your card, Calke Abbey receives a £2.50 member credit which goes towards the upkeep of this special place.