A walk that turned out to be different to what we intended.
We are becoming addicted to TM Travel’s 217 simply because it stops outside my house on its way to Chatsworth. It was one of those rare fine days a week or so ago and having the day free we decided to go for a walk.
Where to was the question and as the time was coming up to 10:15 we thought ‘let’s go to Chatsworth and have a stroll round Stand Wood’. After all it was at least a month since we were there, so off we went up the drive and caught the bus just as it arrived.
I hadn’t planned on using the walk as my latest contribution, but when we reached Chatsworth there was a notice that decided us to extend the walk over to Edensor and make a wide swing across the park to Calton Lees and then back along the riverside with its ever popular view of Chatsworth House.
The reason for this sudden change of plan, as prompted by the notice, was that it was Edensor’s annual village fête, something too good to miss. For such a small village, admittedly the home village to Chatsworth estate, it puts on a fine show and as we did, is a chance to meet up with friends and acquaintances. Along with the usual brass bands from different parts of the Peak, Winster Morris Men, tombola, cream teas and all the fun of the fair, there is also the opportunity of nosing around the pretty gardens of this unique village built to the instructions of the sixth Duke of Devonshire. Originally the village stood around the present turning to the house from the B6012 as it runs through the park. During the extensive work on the park and gardens being carried out by Joseph Paxton, the duke’s head gardener, the duke decided that the view of the village was rather intrusive. Having the money and power to do such things, he simply instructed Paxton to move the village lock stock and barrel to its present position well out of ducal eye-sight. The job which began in 1838 and completed by 1842 was far from straight forward. Armed with a book of architect’s plans, Paxton asked the duke to choose a suitable design in keeping with an estate village. On looking at the plans, the duke commented that he liked them all and thought it would be nice to have one of each. As a result, every house in Edensor while being in typical Victorian style, is uniquely different to its neighbour. The only criticism given to them is that while the outside looks fine, living space inside tends to be rather cramped.
As I mentioned earlier, our original plan was to walk through Stand Wood, probably visiting the aqueduct and Stand Tower before having lunch at the stables. This we did, but having extended the walk into Edensor, we went a little further as the saying goes, and carried on beyond the church and across the park, returning by the riverside.
6 miles (9.6km). One steep climb into Stand Wood, then easy walking through parkland followed by a gentle riverside stroll.
Recommended Map: Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale Outdoor Leisure Sheet 24, The White Peak Area.
Public Transport: TM travel hourly service from Matlock
Car parking (pay) at Chatsworth House.
Refreshments. Chatsworth Stables café and restaurant. Edensor tea room. Chatsworth Garden Centre café, Calton Lees.
- From the car park walk towards the children’s farm yard and adventure playground.
- Turn right away from the playground and follow the forest drive, uphill until a signpost on the left points the way to the ‘dell’. Follow the rough path, uphill until it reaches the spectacular mock remains of the aqueduct.
- Bear left and still climbing zig-zag up to the rocky edge above. Pause here to admire the view.
The ‘aqueduct’ was built by Paxton in 1840, based on one the sixth Duke had seen in Germany. Water flowing off it continues downhill through Stand Wood and provides water for the Cascade.
A stream from a perfectly circular pond above the aqueduct flows over the Sowter Stone where directly below is a view of the Emperor Fountain and the west wing of Chatsworth.
- Turn left beside the pond and follow a muddy track as far as the Hunting Tower, better known as The Stand.
- There are several ways down from the tower. Some are steeper than others and the choice of route should be determined by the weather or fitness of the party.
- Generally speaking, the way back to the car park is visible throughout, so make our way back to it and perhaps stop off for some refreshment.
- Continuing the walk, cross the bridge and bear right along the wide path. Follow it over the rise and down to the road.
- Cross over and go through the gates opposite and into Edensor village. (Village tea room to the left in the old post office.
- Walk past the church and look out for a flight of stone steps on the left. Climb them and enter the park. (there will probably be sheep and other animals such as cattle and deer roaming in the park, so keep dogs under close control)
Kathleen Kennedy, sister of the President Kennedy is buried in the churchyard. Widow of the Marquis of Hartington, she was killed in a plane crash.
- Aim between two distinct plantations and then walk uphill towards a long belt of trees.
- Follow the track through the woods and then go downhill towards a smaller group of trees.
- Bear left downhill to follow a wide track as far as Calton Lees and the garden centre (another café here).
- Walk through the car park and cross a cattle grid.
- Go down to the river and turn left to follow it upstream as far as the bridge leading to Chatsworth House.