Nine hardy souls met up at St Paul's Road and drove over into the Peak District via Sparrowpit, Stoney Middleton, Baslow and on into the Chatsworth Estate at Calton Lees Car Park. I say 'hardy souls' as the weather was not promising and your author was wearing over trousers and at least one walker admitted to thermals!
We began by walking steadily up a hill until the road ended. A further upward slope brought us to the top of the ridge that runs roughly south from Baslow and provides the backdrop to Chatsworth House itself. The views at this point made the trudge up the hill worth the huffing and puffing of some of us. Behind each rolling hill there was another, more distant hill--and then another. We walked through the the woods on forest tracks, while enjoying the new greenery and the bluebells.
Above the Hall on this ridge are two lakes that feed the estate. These are the Swiss and Emperor Lakes. The Emperor lake is very pretty with benches to sit on and ducks and coots on the water. This was to be our lunch stop. However, vital maintenance work had added heavy plant and a muddy lake edge. We did find a log to sit on, with our backs to the machines, so it was not too bad- and the rain was holding off. We took in the Hunting Tower with, again, splendid views before continuing along the ridge and gradually loosing height. After we had all clambered over a high stone stile we turned west and into the estate proper before walking back along the river. Chatsworth was preparing for a big horse trials event the next weekend and when we were 'close up and personal' to the VERY large and solid fences one could only marvel at the courage of both horse and rider in the cross country event. We were soon back at Calton Lees and enjoyed tea and coffee and, of course, cake in the Garden Centre coffee shop. We had earned it!
|Hunting Tower - Chatsworthl|
|Over the stile|