Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The "Long Walk" at Kedleston

dogs are welcome in the Pleasure Grounds and Park
so it was appropriate to be greeted by this canine volunteer

In a combination of making the most of summer and trying to take more exercise, we headed out on Sunday to Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property just an the outskirts of Derby, not to go round the house itself, but to follow one of the walks marked around the grounds. There are several to choose from, some following the river that runs through the park, but we picked the Long Walk, just over three miles in length, and following the boundary of the Pleasure Grounds.

reflecting the sky

The walk starts at the edge of the more manicured gardens, grazed by willow-work sheep, and heads through these gates following an avenue of trees.

In the early part, the path was firm and dry, even after the previous day's rain, leading gradually up hill till views open up over the Derbyshire countryside

It's hard to believe this is barely a few mile from Derby city centre

Along the route there are things to amuse possible reluctant (younger) walkers - a restored hermitage looking like somewhere you might find Hagrid,

an area where you can build your own den,

wooden blocks to play 'stepping stones' on, and a horizontal tree trunk to test your balancing skills (I was tempted but too afraid of slipping and looking foolish!)

About halfway round the view opens across the pleasure grounds to the back of the house, and there are seats to stop for a rest, and there are paths here leading back if you fancy a shorter walk but we pressed on as after all we'd reached the highest section of path, and from here on most of the way is downhill.

Following onward along the tree-lined route, we were soon back down to the level of the house, and for the last section the path led through meadows alongside the river. Next time I should like to explore along here more, and remember to take a pair of binoculars - even without them we spotted swans (above) and maybe half a dozen herons (one is sitting very still, probably watching for dinner to come along, in the left hand photo).

We'd taken longer than expected for the walk (the NT leaflet suggests 80 minutes) but we stopped a lot to look at things along the way so I wasn't surprised. The downside was we were a little late to sample tea and cake back at the cafe - maybe something for another trip.

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