This 4 night walking holiday takes you through the beautiful and less explored South Derbyshire countryside. Walk through mature and newer woodland, through the spectacular grounds of National Trust Calke Abbey and Staunton Harold Hall and across gentle rolling fields. Amble along the banks of the River Trent, past the Anchor Church cave, looking out for the remains of the old rope ferry across the river. Admire the far reaching views from Breedon Church, perched high on a hill and visible for miles around. Garden lovers will enjoy a visit to Melbourne Hall gardens in season, as well as the delightful gardens at Calke Abbey. Lovers of beer will delight in a stay at a delightful little hotel with its own microbrewery. Short detours will also allow you to visit one of only a handful of pubs recommended in every edition of the Good Pub Guide, as well as a local craft brewery, with its sun trap beer garden.
8 - 10 miles
Start any day, all year
Delightful ensuite rooms in small hotels and B&Bs
Bed and Breakfast
Ensuite accommodation on a b&b basis, car parking, luggage transfer when moving hotels, detailed self-guide route to follow at your own pace. We're on hand to offer local support when required
Travel to your holiday starting point. Entry to attractions. Single supplement. Dinners. Extra nights. Travel insurance
Exploring a less discovered part of Derbyshire, with its beautiful unspoiled and varied countryside. Garden lovers will enjoy visits to Melbourne Hall and Calke Abbey gardens. Beer lovers are spoiled for choice at the local craft breweries. Relaxing with a picnic along the banks of the River Trent. Listening to the bellows of the deer rutting in autumn. Watching the hidden Noon Column strike true noon on a sunny day.
Day 1: Your walking holiday starts in the little village of Breedon, on the borders of Leicestershire and Derbyshire. We will meet you when you have settled in and answer any questions that you might have. If you're feeling energetic then we recommend a walk up to Breedon Church, which sits on top of the hill, high above the village. The views from there are spectacular and the Church is known for its fine collection of Anglo Saxon sculptures and carvings. The local village pub is the perfect choice for dinner and has a fabulous garden for warmer days.
: Today's walk starts with a walk through open fields to towards the little nature reserve of Dimmisdale. Look out for hares and even deer. The reserve is a popular place to admire the snowdrops in early Spring and is full of autumn colour, later in the year. Listen for the green woodpecker's distinctive call as you walk through the reserve. A short distance from Dimmisdale brings you to Staunton Harold. Here you will find a choice of cafes, as well as a courtyard full of artisan craftsmen. It's a super place to enjoy a coffee in the sheltered courtyard and there is a deli, where you can pick up delicious local produce for a picnic. Depending on the time, we recommend a short diversion to the oak Noon Column, tucked away in the woodland. At true noon the sun shines through a slit in the column, creating a beam of light in the shadow. Next stop on your walking holiday is the extensive grounds of National Trust Calke Abbey. We recommend exploring the house and gardens later in your holiday, but the sunny courtyard cafe is perfect for lunch or a drink, if you didn't stop at Staunton Harold. Walking past the deer enclosure, your walk continues along the banks of a reservoir to the unspoilt market town of Melbourne, where you will overnight. Melbourne Hall is home to a number of crafts shops and a cafe. The Hall gardens are a hidden gem and well worth a visit in season. They are home to some spectacular yew tree hedges. Melbourne in Australia is named after Melbourne Hall, which was once the home of Prime Minister William Lamb. Your accommodation is in the heart of the town and you will find a wide choice of places to eat, to suit all tastes.
Day 3: We recommend taking a picnic with you today, as much of the walk is across country. There are plenty of excellent places in Melbourne to stock up on delicious local produce. For much of today you will be following old pack horse routes and woodland tracks. Look out for wild cherry trees along the way, perfect for a delicious early summer snack! The shaded tracks in Robin Wood are a delight in every season and especially welcome on a warm summer's day. Your route leads to the tiny village of Ingleby, by the River Trent. Here you will find the olde worlde John Thompson pub, which is one of only a handful to feature in every edition of the Good Pub Guide. In dry weather your walk will take you along the banks of the tranquil River Trent. It's the perfect place to sit and enjoy a leisurely picnic, admiring the views. The path winds past the Anchor Church caves carved into the sandstone rock face. The caves are believed to have been home to a hermit St Hardulph, who lived here in the 7th century and after whom the church at Breedon on the Hill is named. As the path continues along the river banks look out for the remains of the old rope ferry across the River Trent. Your walk ends in the village of Repton, once the centre of the kingdom of Mercia. Your hotel tonight has a wonderful restaurant and also a wonderful brewery. We recommend a walk around the village and a trip to the local church, where you will find an ancient Saxon crypt.
Day 4: 8 miles or option to shorten the route and visit Calke Abbey this afternoon Your walk begins on a series of paths and tracks which take you through newer woodland towards Foremark Reservoir. The views are fabulous, as you climb above the reservoir and the colours are especially spectacular in autumn. Your route joins the National Forest Way, taking you through mature woodland and past the northern end of the reservoir. Here you will find sandy beaches and beautiful coniferous woodland. The track brings you to the Foremark visitor centre, which is the perfect place to stop for a drink, admiring the views across the reservoir and watching the sailing boats. From here your route continues past the Hangman's Stone and through newer woodland to the popular village of Ticknall, your home for tonight. Alternatively, a shorter route allows you to spend much of the afternoon exploring Calke Abbey House and Gardens today, rather than tomorrow. The village pub in Ticknall is a popular place to eat and is known for its good simple pub fare.
Day 5: First stop today is the House and grounds of Calke Abbey, if you did not visit yesterday. The walk to the house is a favourite in all seasons. We especially like early summer and autumn, when the lime tree avenue is at its very best. If you visited the house yesterday then we will provide an alternative path through the grounds, allowing you to enjoy even more of this special place. Next stop on the final day of your walking holiday is the lovely Staunton Harold Hall, which you visited on the first day of your walking holiday. Again, it's the perfect place to enjoy a coffee. Today's route will follow a series of stiles, carved with words which make a poem when put together. As you near your start point, you will walk through farmland, with Breedon Church as your landmark, guiding you back to the start.