A beautifully kept and historic village in south Derbyshire, likely a settlement from as far back as Anglo-Saxon times and mentioned in the doomsday book. Ticknall village is known for it’s abbey, that isn’t an abbey, I’m talking about The National Trust’s Calke Abbey, once owned by the Harpur-Crew family, a prominent feature throughout, the links with the village were very strong, workers of the estate would have lived in the village, some as tenant holders.
I had visited the estate multiple times over the years, but this time we had decided to explore the village and go walking thereabouts, and I’m so glad we did.
Our ramble began at the village hall carpark, a well- kept carpark with toilets, and parking fee is by discretion in the donation box, please remember to leave your donation, it is kept so beautifully. First stop on our ramble was to the Scoff and Shop café and village shop to buy some hot pasties and sausage rolls for breakfast and some freshly made up cobs to take with us, oh so delicious food and such friendly people.
We had no particular direction in mind for our ramble, and as such I can’t call this a walk, we didn’t follow a set route, rather, discovered public footpaths by following our nose, there are many public footpaths to follow with stunning scenery. Through the village you will find a few of the ornate water pumps that were installed in 1914 by Sir Harpur Crew to provide fresh water to the villagers, remember, that back in the day it was the estate village and he was doing his duty by them to provide, and some of the water pumps still work to this day.
From the main road and after leaving the Scoff and Shop with our yummy food supplies, we discovered a public foot path on the left-hand side of the road. We soon found a lovely little route through the village cricket ground and to Ticknall Parish Church. Breakfast was enjoyed while sitting on a bench by the stone wall that divides the cricket ground from the parish church yard, shared of course with our little dog, Bandit, it was a bitterly cold day and so not one to linger for long. Directly we headed through the church gate to explore the delightful church and grounds.
Ticknall’s church of St George was built on the site of the original church of Thomas A Becket, the ruins of which can be seen in the churchyard and looks as though it could easily be the site of a ruined abbey after the attempts to demolish the church failed. The church of St George was built in 1842 because the original church became too small to accommodate the growing community of Ticknall. The population at that time was at least 3 times larger than the current one. Industry was booming in the area, potteries, limeyards, brickmaking and tile industries were thriving. I felt drawn to the church and entered the open door to find a selection of books to buy for a donation amount, of course I had to buy one! I am quite the book addict.
Ticknall village was very much a busier place two hundred years ago with tramways, lime quarries and coal industry not too many miles away. The tramway was used to connect the different industries and the tramway bridge near to the entrance to Calke Abbey is grade ll listed and was built in 1882 by Derbyshire engineer Benjamin Outram. Some of the tramway tunnels can still be walked on foot since renovation by the National Trust. From the village hall car-park just a short walk away is the main entrance to Calke Abbey and the historic tramway bridge. You will find some beautiful walks within the grounds, once you’re in the area there are walking options in all directions, so long as you take care of the local environment, close gates behind you and put dogs on leads where requested, especially in the sheep grazing areas, right now as I write it is lambing season. I spent a while just watching some of the young lambs springing and lolloping about playing in the fields, others were only hours old and they were snoozing beside their mum.
We continued on our way, just winging it, finding the next stile or gate along the route at random, after crossing a road we came across a couple of woodland areas which I found so very peaceful, just listening to the bird song and relaxing, then out of nowhere, a couple of female deer came strutting through the woods and although not in full view, and very skittish once they had spotted us, added extra enjoyment to the ramble, they were soon out of sight once more but a mere glimpse of them was so sweet.
You may have noticed that I’m using the term, ramble. Here’s the difference between a ramble, hike or a trek, a ramble/walk means only to stroll along steady without too much exertion or very much elevation as this one is, it’s not a considerable distance or too demanding, walking boots are always useful, a packed lunch and some water. A hike however usually means going for a greater distance and more likely to need more exertion, a back pack with more involved kit packed and may include a greater elevation at times, some even take a couple of days for a lengthier, demanding one. If it’s a called a trek, that would likely mean a much more involved trip needing a full pack of equipment and maybe done over several days for some advanced treks.
Some of our ramble, especially whilst walking through Robin Wood, was a real walking boot kind of place, I was so thankful for my boots as we sort of trudged through some exceptionally muddy and sticky terrain. Parts of the ramble were flat, dry and easy going, others decidedly swampy, but that’s all the fun of it, especially when finding your own way randomly without a plan. Soon though we could see Ticknall village in sight again, the church spire made a good reference point, and once again the village hall car park was close by, we had probably only walked a mere 3 miles in all but it was the fun of exploring, and finding out about the village, plus of course taking in the local nature, a pure and simple wind down of a walk, chill time you might say.
As we neared closer to where we had parked, I could see the main road and the entrance to Calke Abbey ahead of me and the tram bridge. We took a right hand turn and through a gate onto a private road, listed as belonging to the Harpur-Crew estate. It was here that I bought a plant for the garden, from a plant sale beside a garden gate, another souvenir of our visit to the village along with my photos and memories. 😊