At 4pm on the 7th June, we set out under blue skies on a warm and sunny day for our walk in Chatsworth Park. After parking at Baslow, we walked past a beautiful, thatched cottage and through the Cannon Kissing Gate which was erected to give access to the park for visitors in wheelchairs and was inspired by Mrs. Jill Cannon. It was made and donated by Mathers Engineering of Tibshelf and opened by the Duke of Devonshire and Mrs. Cannon on 17th March 1999. Soon we were passing Barbrook House (White Lodge) where Sir Joseph Paxton lived from 1845-1865.
A blue plaque hangs there to commemorate him. He was the head gardener at Chatsworth and designer of Crystal Palace, London. The park covers 1000 acres and is enclosed by a 9 miles long, dry stone wall and deer fence. Red and Fallow deer can been seen here, together with sheep and cattle. Members of the park team attend to all the trees, walls, railings, watercourses, roads and the intricate system of underground drains. The park as we see it is largely the creation of the 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720-1764). The only two surviving Elizabethan features are Queen Mary’s Bower and the Hunting Tower, the latter being our destination.
Chatsworth came into view and we passed one large family clearing up the remains of their picnic as we began the steady climb through The Dell. Many rhododendrons were still in flower as we wandered through bluebell woods towards the tower where we sat to eat our sandwiches. A family of four came out from the tower with their folding chairs to sit and enjoy the evening sunshine and the extensive views over the estate.
Just after 6pm we turned our backs to the view and headed through the woods and across the park, where a herd of deer were congregated and eventually back to the car park.
Unfortunately, the July walk has had to be cancelled due to the fact that many of us have other plans for that particular weekend. The next walk will be on Sunday 2nd August 4pm from outside church.
This 5.5 miles walk will be led by Evelyn Lowe, through Lathkill Dale and along the Limestone Way. New walkers are always welcome