Other stately homes and gardens
National Trust Derbyshire
This is probably the best known of the Peak District's stately homes. It is surrounded by an extensive park, a large part of which is freely open to the public, courtesy of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Sheep and deer abound!
The original house was built in the mid 16th century by Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick. The hunting tower, high on a nearby hillside, and Queen Mary's Bower (a summer house near the bridge) were built at about the same time. The latter was a favourite place of Mary Queen of Scots when the Earl of Shrewsbury held her prisoner at Chatsworth. The present Chatsworth House is mainly the creation of the first Duke of Devonshire. The original Chatsworth House was rebuilt in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. I believe that the famed 'cascade' dates from this time also. The lake in front of the house is home to the Emperor Fountain. This is powered by a stream which fills up a reservoir. When the reservior is full, up goes the water spout from the fountain! The house itself contains a collection of furniture and works of art. When you see the grounds, you will recognise the unmistakeable stamp of Capability Brown, who was commissioned to remodel them at the time of the fourth Duke.
Near to the Calton Lees car park, at the southern end of the estate, you will find the ruins of the old corn mill (pictured above). It ceased operations in 1950 and was badly damaged when a tree fell on it during a storm in 1962. At the northern end of the estate lies the village of Edensor (the 'de' is silent so it is pronounced 'Ensor') was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the designer of the Crystal Palace in London. It dates from the mid 19th century and replaced the earlier village that had been demolished to improve the view! Visitors from the USA may be interested to seek out the grave of Kathleen Kennedy, sister to the late John F Kennedy.
There is a good garden centre adjacent to the Calton Lees car park and it is well worth a visit to the Chatsworth Farm Shop. To find the shop, take the road out towards Baslow and follow the signs.
Please heed the notices about not parking on the road through the Park, The estate provide perfectly good parking at the house itself and at Calton Lees. Despite the request and the signs, each time I drive through, I see people who are rude enough to ignore these notices. There are even places now that are wearing away and it impedes the flow of traffic as well.
To visit the Chatsworth web site click here.