Calke Abbey - Smisby - Calke Abbey

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This walk starts from the National Trust property of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, which is set on the site of an Augustinian Priory. Calke Abbey was never actually an abbey. The name was given to the house in 1808, nearly 300 years after it stopped being used for religious purposes. The park is some 240 hectares in size, with eighty hectares of this being a National Nature Reserve of international wildlife importance and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are trails of various lengths around the grounds and always a chance to see the herd of red and fallow deer kept in large enclosures.

Our walk leaves the grounds and passes through open farmland and woodlands to reach the village of Smisby, which was settled in Saxon times, the name being derived from the Norse name of 'Smidesbie', which translates into Smith's Farm. Smisby Church is dedicated to St James and has a tower containing two 17th Century bells. The village also has a lock-up, otherwise known as a 'jug' or 'roundhouse'. These buildings were used to hold drunks and other minor law-breakers while they awaited transport to court in Derby. The Smisby Arms pub, on Nelson Square in the village, serves a variety of real ales, lager and wines of good quality, but we thought the food quite expensive. On leaving the village there is a short road-walk before entering the National Forest area and shortly after the walk follows the Ivanhoe Way, a 35-mile walk around North-West Leicestershire. We now cover open farmland and wooded areas as we make our way back to Calke Abbey and the conclusion of the walk.

England - Central England - Derbyshire - Countryside


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Gift Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Museum, National Trust, Nature Trail, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Stately Home, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
6/16/2020 - Andy Dickinson

Great walk through some pretty landscapes. Some paths are very uneven so wear boots. During COVID lockdown the permissive path through Calke Abbey is closed and tickets from the National Trust need to be purchased prior to arrival. All tickets had been sold so we navigated around the Park.

3/25/2016 - Graham Brookes

Although generally dog friendly, there are a few step stiles on route. These are only suitable for dogs that can be carried over.

3/25/2016 - Graham Brookes

Walked the route again today, 25/3/16, but clockwise. Fine sunny Good Friday. Paths much better than previously reported - not so muddy now. Fine spring day. Calke Abbey very busy with Easter visitors. There is a newish path to/from Calke Abbey between waypoints 32 and 36. This is a better alternative to the published road route.

2/2/2014 - Graham Brookes

A pleasant easy walk over pastoral countryside. In damp conditions on the Ivanhoe Way stretch it is very very muddy. Smisby is also a good start point to have a café stop about half way at Calke Abbey. It is open most days of the year. If coming from some distance it is worth making time to walk around the Calke Abbey estate and, in summer, maybe visit the Abbey itself and see its interesting contents. Note: From waypoint 33 there is a permissive gravel path and track going W initially then N into the Calke Abbey estate to the estate church so avoiding the route's road walk and tarmac track. This is a superior way in my view that may not have been available when this walk was devised.

11/18/2009 - mandie santon

Did this walk today-14.11.09 joined it up with walk number 4543. Made a good 10.8 miler. Paths very easy to follow. Directions good.