Explore Hardwick park

Stunning views, verdant landscapes and wildlife busying about their day are just some of the delights waiting to be discovered across Hardwick park, whether you're looking for a walk long or short, a quiet place to ponder or somewhere to let the kids run around.

Routes to explore

There are plenty of walking routes for you to try around the wider estate at Hardwick. For a short stroll, try a wander along leafy Lady Spencer’s Walk, created for the mother-in-law of the 5th Duke so she could enjoy some gentle exercise when she visited her daughter, Georgiana Spencer. 

If you'd like something longer, there are a series of circular routes across the park and beyond. You'll be rewarded with some spectacular views, gently framed by the veteran trees.

The monthly ranger-led walks are a chance to see parts of the estate you might not normally see, or to find out moe about areas you've always been keen to explore in detail. There's also a weekly walking for health walk. 

Places for contemplation

There a plenty of peaceful spots across the park, especially during the week before the holidays. The ponds are a tranquil spot to stop at, often with just the resident wildlife for company. 

A quiet stroll or rest at the ponds can be a real tonic
One of the ponds at Hardwick
A quiet stroll or rest at the ponds can be a real tonic

Hardwick estate, which surrounds the magnificent Hall, covers around 2,500 acres of stunning parkland, woodland, wetland and farmland. Hardwick is also a working farm, so you may see rare-breed Longhorn cattle and sheep in the park.

Many layers of history make the beautiful park a fascinating place to visit. Visit the historic and recently restored Duck Decoy and Ice House, both of which helped to supply the Hall in times gone by.


Bird life

In Lady Spencer's Wood, and other parts of woodland, amongst the birds you're likely to hear and see are great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, robin, wren, blackbird, nuthatch and treecreeper. An extra special treat might be the sighting of a goldcrest.

If you're lucky, you may spot a goldcrest
A goldcrest hides in the trees
If you're lucky, you may spot a goldcrest

On the ponds we have many visitors of the feathered kind, including mute swan, mallard, Canada goose, coot, moorhen, goosander, tufted duck, and black-headed gulls. We also get kingfishers, so if you're very quiet and very lucky you might catch a glimpse of one of these colourful chaps.

Wild play

Pick up a special guide to see what butterflies, bees and dragonflies you can spot. There long grasses and other summer flora make it a haven for these little fellows. 

A comma butterfly basks in the sun down by the ponds in Hardwick park
A comma butterfly on a thistle
A comma butterfly basks in the sun down by the ponds in Hardwick park

If the kids need to burn off some steam, you can always opt for the natural play. Follow Lady Spencer’s Walk to discover see-saws, stepping stones amongst other things. 


The course fishing season at Hardwick runs from 16 June to 28 February. You can fish daily on the ponds, with a daily fishing permit from the Rangers.

Keen anglers may be interested in Bess of Hardwick angling club, which has held the fishing rights for the Row Ponds for 50 years. There is never a problem in selecting your favourite spot to fish, and the sport offer is varied.

You will find many different species and size to suit your mood. The club holds many different activities including a 24 hour charity competition each summer.