Jo’s Monday walk : Elvaston Castle Country Park

In between visiting Poland and the Algarve, I managed to slip in 4 days with my daughter, in Nottingham.  Knowing that I like to get out and about, one day she suggested a visit to Elvaston Castle Country Park.  We had no real idea what to expect, but the Gothic revival masterpiece, staring at us across a mound of topiary, was a promising start.  Part of a 321 acre estate, Elvaston Castle was designed by James Wyatt in the early 1800s, around a house dating from 1633.  For 400 years it was home to the Stanhope family, later to become the Earls of Harrington.

Today’s walk is extremely green.  I know that many of you have singed, brown grass right now, and might regard this as a refreshing change.  The country park had a slightly neglected air, but many families were happily picnicking in the grounds, and I was glad to read that a renovation plan is underway.  In 1970, when the estate was opened, it was one of the first country parks in England.  Both buildings and gardens are Grade 2 listed.  Behind the house are a church and graveyard.

Circling the house, we noted tea rooms, and eyes lit up at the prospect of cake.  Looking in the windows, Lisa remembered that she’d been here once, long ago, for a wedding.  I don’t know if it was the topiary, but there was a distinctly Alice in Wonderland feel to the gardens.

On to the lakeside, where the rockwork captured our imagination.  Tufa, gritstone and gypsum were used to create arches and grottoes, framing a view and lending an air of enchantment.  My very own woodland elf was right at home….

Paths meander all around the lake, and beneath the trees. My squirrel friend scampered away up a tree, but then thought better of it and returned to finish his lunch, defiantly keeping an eye on me.

Set deep within the woods, a Moorish Temple stands tall and hauntingly silent.  Built as a summer house around 1846, it has fallen into disrepair.  Apparently it featured in Ken Russell’s 1969 film, ‘Women in Love’, with Glenda Jackson in a balcony scene.

Time to inspect the tearooms, and step back in time.  The age of the building was apparent but sympathetic restoration could easily bring it to life.

If you’re interested in garden history I found a fascinating document within the Derbyshire council website.  If not, simply sit back and enjoy the faded grandeur of the Old English walled garden.  Once it provided fruit and vegetables for the family, many of them grown within glasshouses.  William Barron, Head Gardener in 1830, transformed the original walled garden with innovative drainage and heating systems, allowing six varieties of grape to flourish.  Traces of it linger still.

I hope you enjoyed ambling with me.  Many more details, including directions, are to be found on the Derbyshire website.

More wonderful walks to share this week.  Pop that kettle on and settle in for a read.  The world will wait!  Many thanks to all of you.


I always like to start off with a beauty, and Debbie never disappoints :

Hilly walk in Korea’s Machu Picchu

Did you meet Mel last week?  Let her take you shopping in style.  I do like an arcade!

Looking up in Melbourne

I’m not much of a shopper, nor much of a cook, but Jackie is well capable in both departments :

Novel meals

Lady Lee cooks too, and is content and happy with her bounty :

Ten things of thankful

Home sweet home with Drake, in Denmark :

Idyllic village

Rupali works just down the road from some glorious scenery!

My Monday walk: Nothing so special

Pure contentment in South Carolina, with Alice and family :

Morning beach walk

Or a double explosion of fun and colour with Pauline and Jack, Down Under :

Queensland Garden Expo…

What the little bird whispered in Jack’s ear

Cathy’s in training for the Camino in September.  This one doesn’t look an easy hike, but much shorter!

The Delicate Arch hike at Arches National Park

Much closer to home, Eunice rounds us off this week :

A summer afternoon in Southport

That’s it for another week.  Sounds like it’s going to be a hot one, so take care!  Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk.


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