Sunday, 22 May 2011

Calke Abbey

Another weekend, another big house.  Calke Abbey is a unique National Trust site which we visited today.  It's about 12-15 miles south of Derby.  It was owned by a rather eccentric family that collected many things -- stuffed animals and birds (the taxidermy kind) primarily from the looks of it.  Over time, the family had a difficult time keeping up with things and finally let most things go.  Rooms were shut off, paint was peeling, etc.  When the last family owner passed away in 1981, the family gave it to the National Trust (1985) -- and they left it as is for the most part.  Quite a contrast to the other homes we have seen.

The gardens were nice as were the animals (sheep, cows, deer, etc.).  The best part of the day though was taking a 3-mile hike around this and adjacent property.  It was our first "English" hike using public rights of way and directions like "pass through stile and head across Farmer Bill's field until you see an old fence . . ."  This was walk #6 of 23 from my recently purchased Derbyshire Walks with Children.  22 more to go!

We topped it off with a stop at a renowned pub called John Thompson (surprisingly no Georgetown paraphernalia).  The atmosphere was a little subdued when we were there but it looked promising.  The beer was fine but not up to the high expectations.  Glad we stopped but I don't need to drive down there just for that.

Enjoy the pictures below . . .

Kids in the Garden

Palm trees outside of Derby?  They had quite the heating set up back in the day to keep the greenhouses warm.

Deer outside the garden (in an enclosed fence)

An all too familiar scene . . . Kuk trailing and Alex way behind.  [from the garden to the house]

This porcelain pig caught my fancy for some reason.  Crazy stuff in the house.

Not every day you see a Rolls-Royce!

View from our hike.  The grass was swaying in the "breeze" (30 mph gale force) -- quite dramatic.

Alex climbing a stile (for all you Americans who like us didn't know what that was).  A stile is pretty much anything that keeps the animals on one side but lets the humans through.  Think turnstile with out the turn!

King of the (small) hill


Different kinda cow (sorry, city boy here).  This guy's friends got way too close to the car coming in!

Heron on a branch.  Kinda small -- click on the photo for closeup.

Big ole gnarly tree

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