"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 1 April 2016

Calke Abbey

I had a day out yesterday at Calke Abbey with a friend as an early celebration of her birthday early in April.

The first highlight was my first butterfly sighting of the year in her garden - a Small Tortoiseshell.

Calke Abbey is described by the National Trust as "The Un-Stately Home". The Abbey tells the story of the dramatic decline of a country house estate earlier in the Twentieth Century. Only essential repairs have been carried out and there is much peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards around the house and stables.

We had an early lunch of leek and potato soup and a roll followed by a slice of fruit loaf and then walked down to the house.

You can see how busy it was - Easter School holidays and a sunny day had brought out the crowds.

It was much quieter in the Walled Gardens :)

Located in the north-west corner of the Flower Garden is the Auricula Theatre built in 1830. There were no auriculas on display yet but instead a selection of pansies, daffodils, hellebores and grape hyacinths.

The geometrically shaped flower-beds are characteristic of the early Victorian period.

The Fernery

The Kitchen Garden covers 4 acres.

Mosses and lichens in the wall surrounding the garden.

The inevitable Ivy-leaved Toadflax

I resisted the temptation of delights in the National Trust shop but did treat myself to an Allium and Ladybird Poppy from the plant area.

I do like Calke Abbey - you could spend several days exploring. The house has a vast collection of treasures, the church is interesting and there is a deer park. Calke Park itself is a National Nature Reserve being a haven for ancient trees and wildlife. Nine species of bats and over 350 species of beetle have been recorded. Am hoping to pay another visit soon and perhaps re-visit the house interior as I haven't been inside for some years and also go in search of The Old Man of Calke.


Countryside Tales said...

What a great place. Oh for a walled garden!

John Wooldridge said...

Looks a nice place to visit Robin, may be a trip there later in the year m'thinks.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT :) Yes, I would love a walled garden too :)

John Wooldridge - Thanks John. Would definitely recommend visiting - there are some wonderful walks in the park as well as the house and garden.

amanda peters said...

Another lovely place, the walled garden would have been my favourite place to see, just love the flower display in the Auricular Theatre, and The Fernery, I just love the old brick work.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. Yes, the walled gardens are a complete delight. I could have done a whole post on the brickwork and walls if I'd had chance to take more photos.

Rosie said...

Lovely! I always find Calke fascinating both inside and out. The walled garden and Auricula theatre are wonderful. Last time we visited the walled garden had been 'yarn bombed' and was full knitted insects and willow scarecrows. Sound like you had a lovely time with your friend and it must have been a delight to see your first butterfly of the year:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much Rosie. I would imagine the walled garden looked wonderful with the knitted insects and willow scarecrows. I love the long Lime Avenue too when you first arrive. One thing I love about NT properties is that there is always something new to see no matter how often you visit.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello there, my first visit to your blog. I thought I really must pay a visit, as I see your name around some of the blogs I do visit.

This looks a lovely place to visit and a brilliant selection of photographs.
The flowers are so colourful.
I just love walled gardens too.

Have a lovely weekend

All the best Jan

Ragged Robin said...

Lowcarb team member - Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment :) I am so glad you enjoyed the post and photos.

Have a lovely weekend too and thanks again.

Best wishes

Wendy said...

A lovely walk around Calke Abbey. I love all the bright spring flowers in the pots. It looks an interesting study of the rise and fall of the country house, once grand and then left to decay.
I saw my first butterflies today, too, although I've still to see a Small Tortoiseshell.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much. It is a fascinating story and a great place to walk round. Glad to hear you've seen your first butterflies - it suddenly seems to have gone a lot warmer and there are more bumble bees about :)

David said...

A lovely post Caroline with so much to see and enjoy :-)

I remember visiting Calke Abbey with my parents and sisters a few years ago and I thought it was one of the most interesting properties I have ever visited. That was in early autumn and I remember conkers were literally everywhere along the avenue of Chestnuts!

Hope you are well and my kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much :)

I would so agree about it being one of the most interesting - with some places the garden is best or the house or the grounds but here everything is superb. I really want to go in the house again as last time it was a guided tour and I didn't see as much as I wanted and also explore grounds more :)

I am well thanks and hope you are too. Best wishes Caroline

Deb said...

What a lovely place and a beautiful kitchen garden.I'll look forward to hearing about The Old Man of Calke. :)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - thanks so much Deb. Hoping to "drag" OH to Calke if I can and go in search of The Old Man of Calke! Tend just to visit house and gardens when I go with my friend.