My best friend lives close to Calke Abbey and it’s become a favourite haunt whenever Monkey and I are visiting. We were staying for a couple of days earlier in the week, and after the drive up in the morning, we were all in need of some fresh air. It looked likely that we’d get caught in a shower but we were well equipped. Monkey was looking forward to picking up sticks at Calke Abbey whilst my friend A and I caught up with each others news.
We normally make a beeline for the den building and woodland activity area, but it looked closed as we drove past to the main car park. My friend A knows the estate well, and suggested a walk that would take us back to the woodland area so we could check if the gates were locked or not.
It was lovely to explore the trails, and having spent time picking up sticks at Calke Abbey along the way, it’s an activity we will do again in the future I’m sure.
Monkey was soon on a mission, picking up sticks and wandering on ahead. He could spot a path and was interested to see where it would lead. There was no doubt as to who our guide would be for the day!
The walk back to the activity area was shorter than we thought, and although the area was closed up, we discovered that we could still walk through the nature reserve.
In fact we had our first nature spot along before we’d entered the nature reserve. Eagle eyed A spotted a few toads in the grass.
One inside the nature reserve we headed to the bird hide. It’s somewhere where even the noisiest 6 year old can see birds up close.
We could have watched the birds flying to and from the feeding station for hours, but Monkey was here to have an adventure and we’d promised him a walk back past the lakes to see the deer.
As we headed round the reserve trail we spotted some new wood carvings which needed a closer inspection.
Who knew we’d find a crayfish/lobster this far from the sea!
We turned away from the nature reserve and back up the hill and the trails around the side of Calke Abbey.
It appeared we’d found a dinosaur along the way and any walkers we bumped into were treated to a roar or two. Monkey was happy and enjoying himself.
He’d picked up sticks along the way and was happy to walk ahead of us, and to stop and explore along the way.
We looked at some lovely old trees and tried to imagine how old they must be.
Of course holes in the ground were just calling out to be poked and prodded.
But there was also time to just enjoy the view.
The trail was taking us closer to the lake as we headed down the incline, the sun decided to come out and it certainly looked rather picturesque.
The trail wanders along the side of this part of the lake and A spotted something moving in the trees.
I was instantly reminded of our trip to Coombe Mill last Easter. Look Mummy, deer!
Monkey thought it was rather funny that the stags were in a different field, but he enjoyed looking at all of them as we passed.
After a quick refreshment stop we headed off to more familiar ground (or so we thought) as we headed to the walled garden behind the main house.
It’s funny when we you visit somewhere fairly regularly but have obviously walked the same way paths. We found a part of the gardens we’ve never spotted before. More explorations were called for.
How we’d missed this part of the gardens on previous trips is beyond us, but it was a lovely discovery and added yet another dimension to our day.
There were plenty of things to discover along the way.
We found our way into the walled garden and spotted the lambing area, which was fenced off. The lambs were all happily following their mothers around and enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
It was lovely to watch Monkey, he knew where we were and was keen to run in front of us. He really is growing up and changing fast. Last one to the Grotto is the loser! There are times when Monkey’s red coat is a godsend – he’s always so easy to spot.
I’m so lucky that Monkey is such a good walker, he rarely moans and always finds something to keep him amused on any walk we do. That’s not to say that he isn’t keen to rest his weary feet from time to time though.
But it’s never long before he’s on the run again.
Run Monkey, run! Then pick a dandelion, drop your sticks and enjoy a moment in the sun.
We love Calke Abbey, I thought we’d seen it all, but clearly we’ve still only scratched the surface. We’re back in Derbyshire next month and I think we might try one of the trails featured on their website next time.
Picking up sticks at Calke Abbey – a perfect way to spend an afternoon in April, even the weather decided to be kind to us too.