Monkey and I were staying with my best friend up in Derbyshire last weekend. The sun was due to be shining and we were all itching to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. On Saturday we decided to head to Calke and enjoy a day walking around Staunton Harold Reservoir. We often visit Calke Abbey with her, and I’d always wanted to see what the reservoir was like, so we packed the car up and headed to the Round Car Park on the end of the village. It’s free to park here, but does get very busy, so we were glad we’d made an early start.
It was a bit a hazy start to the day, and we explained to Monkey that we were planning to walk around the side of the Calke Abbey Deer Park, across fields and wildflower meadows, along the side of the Staunton Harold Reservoir, until we reached the visitor centre. An ice cream treat would be waiting for him there.
Our walk showed up Monkey’s growing confidence again, as he was often happy to lead, whether it be along a path, across a style or through a gate. My friend had a map, and off we went, our adventure of walking around Staunton Harold Reservoir had begun.
We couldn’t have picked a better day for our walk, we weren’t really sure how many miles we would be covering in total, it wasn’t too hot, but there was plenty of scenery changes along the way to keep Monkey interested.
Nothing phased Monkey and he was so eager to see what lay ahead at every turn. We took time to stand quietly and enjoy a moment or two of deer spotting in the distance, as we skirted the side of the Deer Park.
We walked through woodland, and around the edge of the end of the reservoir before heading to open fields. What would we come across next?
Fields full of dandelion clocks were just to promising to rush through, obviously.
The variation of views along the walk were just wonderful.
There were plenty of moments to just stop and admire the views and the scenery around us. One thing that the photos can’t convey is the noise. The constant bird song that accompanied us all day. It was really rather wonderful. Who could resist a moment to make a daisy chain as the sun began to burn through the clouds.
As well as listening to the birds we got to see some sheep with their lambs and cows grazing in an adjoining field.
Before we knew it we were in sight of the Staunton Harold Reservoir Visitor Centre and we had our own little welcome party!
There’s a Pay and Display car park right next to the Visitor Centre, along with a cafe, toilets, picnic area, play park and an old windmill tower to investigate.
I can thoroughly recommend the coffee and walnut cake! Once we’d had some refreshments there was time to explore. My resident bug hunter spotted this rather wonderful bug hotel.
Before heading to explore the Tower Windmill, and to instruct us that it was time for some hide and seek fun and games amongst the trees and hedgerows.
Of course these days Monkey is more willing to try new things and explore play parks in more detail. It would also appear that you are never too old to enjoy the swings.
You can’t walk all the way round Staunton Harold Reservoir, so we decided to retrace our steps and once we reached the Deer Park we would head into Calke Abbey itself for lunch.
Monkey loves maps as much as I do and he loves seeing where we’ve been and where our next adventure will lead.
Little did my friend and I realise that we would meet a troll on our adventures, one demanding money at that!
It wasn’t long before our troll had abandoned his bridge and found a stick to play with instead. Old habits die-hard for the best of us, after all.
I was so proud of Monkey, he walked all morning, and only really complained when his tummy started to tell him it needing filling up again. He was a total joy to be with, and he thrilled in this environment. He really does love nature and being outdoors. It makes me happy.
The day was full of colour, full of green, blue and bright yellow.
We reached the Deer Park and headed right into the Calke Abbey Estate, and familiar territory. Guess what we found lurking inside a tree along the path?
We made our way down to the ponds that help feed the main reservoir, isn’t this a lovely path?
Monkey now knew exactly where he was as we’d covered this part of the walk on our last visit to Calke Abbey. We’d heading to the cafe and grabbed a well deserved lunch. Monkey was keen to explore the grounds but I knew we had a half hour walk still to do to get back to the car park. He’d walked miles and I didn’t want to push my luck any further with him. Play time at my friend’s house was suggested as an alternative idea and we headed back to the car.
Of course there was still time to admire the view along the way.
Walking around Staunton Harold Reservoir was a really rather wonderful way to spend a day. We think we covered about 7 miles in total, it was all easy-going and the views were wonderful. We noticed that there were a number of different routes and I’m sure we;ll be back again to explore some more.