Discover the estate at Lyme
If you are in need of some fresh air this autumn, come and explore over 1,400 acres of historic parkland. Head out to the wider estate for walks through woodland and across the moor for far-reaching views. Seek out the built structures dotted through the landscape for some of the best views. There’s plenty of wildlife and nature to see along the way.
Find Follies in the Landscape
Structures were built at strategic spots around the park to draw the eye across the landscape. An iconic view at Lyme, the original Cage was built by the warrior priest, Sir Piers V, in 1524.
It was used either as a hunting lodge or a watchtower, though its name reportedly comes from its use in the 17th century as a holding prison for poachers awaiting trial.
It was rebuilt in the 1730s as part of Giacomo Leoni’s works to the house. Leoni played up its fortress-like appearance but also made it more hospitable, possibly so that it could be used as a banqueting room.
Later still, the Cage became a home for estate workers, though it must have been a hard experience living at the top of this windswept hill.
The Lantern is another Lyme landmark. The top part of the sandstone tower is believed to originally have sat above the north archway of the house and was probably placed on the hill next to the woods in the 1720s. The view from the Lantern looks out over the park and the Cheshire plain.
It also creates a line of sight that leads the eye from the Dining Room windows, over the gardens and to the east. It is said that if Lord Newton could see the Lantern clearly from the Dining Room, it was good enough weather for hunting.
Built from stone quarried on the estate, Paddock Cottage sits high in the south of the park. The interior is plain apart from a decorative heraldic panel, Sir Piers Legh IX's coat of arms. Paddock Cottage’s position, with direct sight line to the Cage, and ornate overmantel implies the building was used for ‘showing off’ to guests – possibly used for dining after the hunt. It was later used as a dwelling for estate workers.
With acres of woodland, moorland and meadows, Lyme is the perfect place to explore on a walk this autumn. Take in glorious views in a quieter area of the park on the Lantern walk, follow the Paddock Cottage walk to find Knightslow Wood, Pursfield Wood and Drinkwater Meadow, and see ponds and tree-lined avenue on the Lime Avenue Ponds walk. Dogs on leads are welcome and downloadable maps and step-by-step guides are available for each walk.
Watch out for wildlife
There have been deer at Lyme for over 600 years and their presence has played a pivotal role in the history of the estate. Come and see them during the rutting season in October and witness the stags showcasing their prowess, or visit in June as we welcome baby deer to Lyme.
Look out for nest boxes around the estate that provides a home for nesting birds. Last year one box was occupied by 10 blue tit chicks. This shows how healthy the environment is to provide enough caterpillars for 10 chicks.
Boxes are placed at various locations around the site. Oak trees provide the majority of caterpillars for blue tits and great tits so they like to set up near them.
You may well hear the chicks calling their parents before you see the nest box. Keep listening out as you walk and don’t be tempted to look inside.
Lyme is home to a number of veteran trees of different species. The oldest oak tree is around 550 years old. They are vital because they support so many animals, insects and fungi – sometimes up to 260 species.
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