Distance 3.8 miles
Time 1-2 hours
Terrain Country lanes, field paths, some rocky, uneven terrain
Accessibility Gates, no stiles or squeeze stiles, some uneven terrain, steep steps
Start and End Point Grid Ref SK 25891 68539; postcode DE4 2NX; /// grapevine.overruns.resolves
Map Ordnance Survey OL24
This fabulous walk follows beautiful country paths on the Chatsworth Estate, passing through the charming villages of Calton Lees and Edensor. It provides spectacular views of Chatsworth House and the River Derwent, and there’s a very good chance of seeing both red deer and fallow deer en route.
This is a walk of just under 4 miles. Most of the terrain is on country lanes, although there are some field paths that will be muddy after wet weather. There are gates but no stiles or squeeze stiles. Please be aware that there are a number of steep, uneven steps down as you approach Edensor village. There is a lovely café at the Chatsworth Garden Centre at the start/end of the walk, and superb tea rooms in the village of Edensor at the halfway point. There is a public car park at the start point (fees apply). Allow 1-2 hours to complete this walk at a moderate pace, allowing for rest stops to take in the views.
1. Park in the car park at Calton Lees, close to the Chatsworth Garden Centre, postcode DE4 2NX, grid ref SK 25891 68539.
2. Turn right out of the car park and walk along the quiet lane, passing the entrance to the garden centre on your left. Follow the lane as it wends through hills and fields, through the small but very pretty cluster of houses known as Calton Lees, keeping straight on, ignoring footpaths off.
Calton Lees is one of four villages owned by the Chatsworth Estate, the others being Edensor, Beeley and Pilsley. Calton Lees is by far the smallest, nothing more than a hamlet, but this beautiful cluster of stone houses set in rolling countryside is very picturesque to walk through.
3. Keep following the lane as it curves up a slight hill and through another small cluster of houses, beside Pingle and Rye Croft Cottages. The lane narrows and becomes more uneven, until it reaches a wide field gate.
4. Go through the wide gate and turn immediately right, keeping to the left of a stone wall. There are marvellous views over to your right of the Derwent Valley after a short distance.
5. After passing through a small gate ahead of you, walk diagonally left across the field towards a wide gate that leads into a wooded area. Follow the path through the trees.
6. Pass through a second wide gate, at which point you’ll have a great open view across the Chatsworth Estate parkland. There are seats here if you fancy a rest to admire the view.
7. Turn right and head down the hill towards the area of woodland you can see ahead of you. Keep your eyes open here for herds of red deer and fallow deer, as well as plenty of sheep.
8. Keeping to the immediate left of the small wood, continue walking in the same direction and heading roughly towards the spire of the church you can see in front of you, which is St Peter’s church in the village of Edensor.
9. As you approach the village of Edensor, follow the path up a couple of small steps and through a narrow iron gate. There is then a set of steep steps downwards, with handrails on both sides. Follow the steps down, turn right and emerge into the very pretty village of Edensor.
Edensor (pronounced ‘Enzer’) is a fascinating little place! The village is owned by the Chatsworth Estate and it is inhabited mainly by current and retired employees. Much of the village as you see it now was built in the mid 19th Century, designed by the renowned architect Sir Joseph Paxton, famed for designing the Crystal Palace in London. His grave is in the churchyard here.
Edensor was an ancient village, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, at which time it was located much closer to Chatsworth House than it is now, along the banks of the River Derwent. The original village was demolished on the orders of the 4th Duke of Devonshire, however, allegedly to avoid spoiling the view of the parkland.
You may notice that Edensor contains a vast array of different housing styles, from Tudor to Norman, with everything from Swiss-style cottages to Italianate villas. The story goes that the architect who worked with Paxton presented the Duke with a selection of house styles to choose from, but at a time when the Duke was particularly busy. Rather distractedly, he reportedly asked for ‘one of each’.
Edensor today is a great place to explore, and there’s a lovely tea room for refreshments if needed.
10. Continuing the walk, head out through Edensor village towards the grand iron gates painted in Chatsworth blue. Go through the gates and carefully cross the road, then take the path directly opposite, heading up a slight hill.
11. As you crest the hill, you’ll see Chatsworth House directly in front of you. The path leads you down to the approach road into the Chatsworth House grounds, towards a picturesque bridge over the River Derwent, known as James Paine’s Bridge.
12. Don’t go over the bridge, but instead cross the road just before it and follow the path across the parkland, with the River Derwent and Chatsworth House on your left.
13. Walk diagonally right across the parkland, heading for a broad set of steps just visible ahead of you. Walk up the steps and follow the path until it eventually meets up with the road (the B6012).
14. Carefully cross the road and go through the blue gates ahead of you, to return to the car park at Calton Lees that you started from.