Walking

Walking trail

Hardwick estate: walk in Bess’ footsteps

Walking trail

Once home to Bess of Hardwick, the hall's Elizabethan splendour dominates the landscape, which once provided for her household. Much of Hardwick looks the way it does today because of the way Bess and her Devonshire descendants shaped the countryside to meet their needs.

A stunning Elizabethan house and beautiful landscape garden

As you walk through the Devonshire estate you'll see features from Bess’ time, as well as those developed in the 400 years since her death.

View of Hardwick Hall from the southeast

Map

Map route for Hardwick estate: walk in Bess' footsteps

Start:

Park Centre at Hardwick, grid ref: SK454640

1

From the Park Centre follow the track over the footbridge, walking away from the motorway.

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2

When you reach the pond with the dragonfly sculpture turn right and go through the gate into the field. Walk straight up the field towards the Halls. The five row ponds date from before Bess' time. The ponds at Hardwick were created to provide the estate with fresh fish and duck for the table, and fishing still continues today. These ponds are fished by the Bess of Hardwick Angling Club, who help us to maintain a good habitat for our resident water voles.

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3

At the hall turn right along the road until you get to the stableyard's arch on your left. Turn left through the stableyard and continue through the second arch. Look out for a glimpse of the herb garden and orchard through the gate.

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4

Follow Lady Spencer's Walk, turning left at the bottom of the steps. Lady Spencer was the mother of Georgiana Cavendish (wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire). She created this walk with her granddaughter while staying with her at Hardwick in the late 1700s.

5

Cross over the farm track and go through the gate into the field in front of you. Follow the fence line into the wood.

6

Follow the track through Park Piece Wood. (Caution: this path can be very muddy in wet weather.)

7

When you come out of the wood, walk straight down the hill through the field to the road, heading for the gate.

8

Cross over the drive and continue through the field to the gate into the next wood.

9

Follow the path through the woodland. When you reach the track, turn left and follow this until you reach a big blue gate.

10

Go through the blue gate and walk straight ahead, following the grass path downhill, over the drive. Continue until you reach a gate in the fence near the ponds.

11

Once through the gate, turn right past the quarry to return to the Park Centre.

End:

Park Centre at Hardwick, grid ref: SK454640

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Hardwick estate: walk in Bess’ footsteps

Terrain

Grassed footpaths and surfaced pathways through country park. Moderate terrain with one steep climb early in the walk. This walk is lovely in all seasons although paths can be muddy, so good boots are advised.

Dogs welcome on leads only as livestock in surroundings fields. Please use bins provided for dog waste.

Hardwick estate: walk in Bess’ footsteps

Contact us

Hardwick estate: walk in Bess’ footsteps

How to get here

Address
Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S44 5QJ
By train

Chesterfield 8 miles (12.8km).

By road

2 miles (3.2km) south of M1 J29. Turn off A6175 following brown sign to Hardwick Hall. Instead of taking second turning to Hall continue straight on towards Hardwick Inn. Turn left into Hardwick Park, just after motorway bridge. Postcode for Sat Nav: S44 5QJ.

By foot

From Rowthorne Trail or Teversal Trail.

By bus

Stagecoach East Midlands 'Pronto' bus service, Chesterfield to Nottingham, alight Glapwell, Young Vanish: 2 mile (3.2km) walk to pick up walk route at Rowthorne Gate.

Hardwick estate: walk in Bess’ footsteps

Facilities and access

  • Hardwick Hall park, gardens, restaurant and shop open all year round
  • Dogs are welcome on leads in the parkland
  • Car parking is free for National Trust members, or £3 for non-members