This Chatsworth walk is a perfect winter walk in the Peak District. It’s a 8 mile wander around the Chatsworth Park and Edensor, spotting the famous Chatsworth deer herds, The Hunting Tower, Emperor Lake and more. Chatsworth House Christmas displays have become the stuff of legend, and this is a great walk to bring the festive feeling in (without spending a fortune).
Chatsworth House is one of the wonders of the Peak District, being a magnificent Grade 1 listed country house surrounded by an immaculate 105 acre garden and a 1800+ acre park. Home to the Cavendish family for nearly 500 years, it’s now looked after by the 12th Duke of Devonshire and his family. Did you know a lot of Chatsworth Park is actually free for the public? Most of the parkland and Stand Wood is accessible for free, with permissive footpaths running throughout.
We parked at Nether End car park and followed Church Lane, past the village green and the Cafe on the Green over the bridge. Turning right, we passed the most beautiful thatched cottage which overlooked the river, and followed the track up past another cottage to the famous Cannon Kissing Gate. The Cannon Kissing Gate was designed by Mrs Jill Cannon to make the parkland accessible to wheelchair users and prams and was unveiled in 1999 by the Duke of Devonshire and Mrs Cannon.
Through the gate, we headed off to the south-west along a very faint footpath to the woods, and here we saw our first herd of deer! Chatsworth is home to 300+ semi-wild fallow deer and 150+ semi-wild red deer, and even though there are so many there, they have a vast area to roam so I wasn’t expecting to see any at all. How wrong I was!
After we’d viewed the deer from a distance, and getting as close as we dare without disturbing them, we headed off into Stand Wood in search of the Hunting Tower. This dates from the 1580s, during Bess of Hardwick’s reign at Chatsworth, and was used for people to watch the deer hunts and socialise afterwards. Nowadays it’s a holiday cottage.
From the Hunting Tower we headed south-east to Emperor Lake, built to supply water for the Emperor Fountain in the Chatsworth House gardens. At one time this was the highest gravity fed fountain in the world!
After we’d had a hot chocolate by the Lake, we headed back to the Hunting Tower and down the steps (Holly counted 112 of them!), through the woodland to the farmyard.
We passed the Chatsworth House car park and the gates to the house, a former gamestore which is now full of information, and then set off over the beautiful Three Arch Bridge designed by James Paine in the 18th Century. He created a number of features in Chatsworth Park, including the old water mill and One Arch Bridge at the other end of the park (which we passed later on the walk).
We headed down to the road, crossed over and headed into the picture perfect village of Edensor. The village was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire to replace the original village which has been demolished when Capability Brown landscaped the park. Only one building from the original village wasn’t removed, being Park Cottage, presumably as it wasn’t in view! Each of the houses within Edensor is of a different design and the whole village is stunning.
From Edensor we set out over a footpath running behind the houses to where we saw a huge herd of fallow deer grazing. I wish I’d taken my proper camera as the deer are amazing!
We then walked through the woods up the hill, then over the fields. We followed the farm track through the farmyard buildings. From here you could add on a detour to Calton Pastures trig point but we followed the track, which then became a road, ultimately joining Long Galley where there was a collection of farm buildings and a beautiful Christmas tree.
The road continues on past the Chatsworth Garden Centre and we took a shortcut through the woods to reach Chatsworth Road. Just before James Paine’s One Arch Bridge is a footpath which leads to the parkland. The path follows the River Derwent past the former water powered corn mill, which is now just a ruin, and on towards the front of Chatsworth House.
Passing the house, we headed back over the Three Arch Bridge and into the parkland, passing Queen Mary’s Bower. This unusual structure is said to be the remains of a 15th Century garden design, and was also used by Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment at Chatsworth.
The path continues along the River Derwent, before reaching the Cannon Kissing Gate again, and then we retraced our steps back to the car park.
This is a great winter walk with kids – you don’t have to go as far as we did to spot the deer, as there are loads roaming around everywhere. I never thought Chatsworth would be a free day out in Derbyshire, but you can still explore Chatsworth for free without buying a ticket to the house.
Where to Park to Walk In Chatsworth Park
We parked in Nether End Car Park in nearby Baslow and walked up to the Chatsworth Park. There is a car park to the front of Chatsworth House itself.
When is Chatsworth House Open?
You can check the current opening times on the Chatsworth House website.
Can You Visit Chatsworth House Without Paying?
You don’t need to spend any money to enjoy a walk around Chatsworth but you have to buy a ticket to enter Chatsworth House, the farm, playgrounds and gardens. We were only there to spot the deer so we didn’t go into the house. You can prebook your tickets on the Chatsworth House website.
Are Chatsworth Grounds Free?
The parkland and Stand Wood are free to explore.
How do You Pronounce Edensor?
Despite it’s spelling, the pretty village of Edensor is pronounced as “Enza”.
Free Chatsworth Walk:
Parking: Nether End Car Park, Church Lane, Baslow, Bakewell DE45 1SR
Facilities: Public toilets in the car park and at Chatsworth House
Walk Time: 3-4 hours
Distance: 8.16 miles (13km)
Trig Points Bagged: None
Peak District Peaks Bagged: None
Peak District Ethels Bagged: None
Chatsworth Park Walk Map: