Whenever we stay with my best friend up in Derbyshire we normally spend time at Calke Abbey. Whether it’s to enjoy a woodland walk, visit the gardens or run through the garden tunnel. It’s somewhere my son always enjoys as much as we do. When we visited earlier in the week before school started back we got to spend a morning enjoying Calke Explore which opened earlier in the summer.
We’ve been to the woodland play area a number of times before, but I’d heard on the grapevine that a new car park, cafe and toilet block had been added this year, to make it an all-year-round family destination within the National Trust grounds. So it seemed only right that we should investigate.
We were up early and parked up well before the cafe opened at 10 am. The toilet block was already open which would be useful for the walkers, also out early. There are a number of wooden table and chairs, with canopies and I can imagine that it’s been really popular with families over the last few months.
As we’d been in the general area a number of times before, we had an idea of what was available to look at and enjoy, although I think some signage would definitely be a good idea for first-time visitors. It would be quite easy to miss the nature reserve and bird hide if you didn’t already know the general direction to find them in.
That being said, we were soon wandering off down the tracks to spend time enjoying Calke Explore.
The wooden play area has been changed and new things added since our last visit to this area. My son was very impressed.
The bird hide is always a must-visit for my friend and me, and even my son sits still for a few minutes to look at the visitors.
I really must take my long lens one day to take shots that do the birds justice.
We loved finding the Calke Abbey bug hotel, even more so when we discovered a rock from Wakefield, which is now being rehidden in Oxfordshire.
Walking through the bracken was a highlight for all of us, it was so tall and we also got to see evidence of lots of badger sets along the track.
A first for us, although the inhabitants were fast asleep deep inside.
It was well worth spending time enjoying Calke Explore and we’ll be back again to spend more time there in future. It’s also a great starting point to explore the Tramway Trail which we’ve part walked in the past.
Something to complete in the future we’ve decided.
Enjoying Calke Explore was a lot of fun and we are already looking forward to our next visit to one of our favourite places.
What fun have you been having outdoors lately?