Calke Abbey is one of the National Trust properties nearest to us and, whilst we don’t go around the house very often, we frequently go for walks in the park and gardens. We normally just ramble around but this time we decided to one of the “planned” walks taking us further out along the “Tramway” which originally connected the Limeworks at Calke with the canal at Ashby de la Zouche (not exactly sure where).
We set off in bright sunshine from the car park and made our way back towards the entrance to the park cutting off the road just before the pay station and making our way down a new path towards the pond and Tramway Tunnel. Before we got there we passed a holly bush still full of berries (which I think demonstrates how mild the winter has been) and one of the many ponds in Calke where (we think) we saw a Little Grebe. I say “think” because we saw this little bird diving in the pond but never got a close look at it as it chose to come to the surface behind some reeds and then dived down never to re-appear.
Anyway, we walked on a bit and then looked back through the Tramway Tunnel (next time we’ll wander along it but – despite what the photograph shows – it was very dark). The tunnel was built under then entrance roadway to “preserve the appearance of the entranceway” something which the Harper-Crewe’s seemed to think was essential to their way of life.
From there we followed our noses along the tramway as far as it went. In a couple of places you can see the original limestone bedding for the rails and at one point there’s a bench with (what I assume is) parts of the original rails.
At the junction with the Ashby Road, we joined another Tramway built to bring the limestone from another quarry. I assume that neither quarry was very successful as they both finished around the beginning of the 20th Century.
However, as we continued down the path, we passed the entrance to Staunton Harold and then turned back towards Calke Abbey. As we did, we saw a couple of buzzards circling each other and eventually settling down in the trees to shout.
After that we wandered back to the car park. A pleasant five and a bit mile stroll over easy terrain (although I wouldn’t much like to do it if it was wet and muddy).