Calke Abbey drive. Photo ©copyright Ticknall Life

Calke Abbey and Park

Midway along Main Street in Ticknall is the understated entrance to Calke Abbey, one of the National Trust’s most popular properties.  A scenic drive down the avenue of limes will bring you into the Park and, after maybe seeing sheep and long-horned cattle, the house will come into view.

Calke Abbey has been dubbed by the National Trust “The House that Time Forgot”. For some 360 years the home of the Harpur Crewes, it lies within more than 600 acres of publicly accessible parkland whilst, nearer the house, its gardens present a year-round delight. The house and its contents are as the family left them, reflecting the eccentricities of the family and since its adoption by the NT in the mid-1980s, has brought fame and many visitors to Ticknall.

On this spot, 1,000 years ago, stood an Augustinian Priory, the buildings of which have gradually been assimilated into the house you now see. Look out for future posts on how the transition came to take place.

Interested in old trees? This is the only known National Trust property that has two oak trees that are one thousand years old.

Within the parkland, there is a ‘hub’ providing for walkers, with cyclists parking space, refreshment, and essential facilities. The cycle trail makes use of part of the historic Ticknall tramway that ran through the park from the limeyards and offers scenic cycling with easy gradients and relaxing views.

If, however, your interest lies in the house and its environs, you will find plenty to interest you there, as well as in the restaurant and café while the shop offers a wide variety of items. You will also find plenty of staff and volunteers who will help you to get the most out of your visit.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in the social history surrounding ‘The Big House’ please see our parallel series of The Baronets and The Servants.

The recent covid19 precautions have forced a different procedure from that to which you might be accustomed and prior booking may be necessary. Please contact the property online or by telephone before you attempt to visit.

Photo ©Copyright Ticknall Life

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Norman Monahan

Harpur-Crewe guru and one-time publisher, jazz fan Norman is, at 98, our oldest contributor.