The Retirees go Abroad – Derbyshire and Elvaston Castle Country Park

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We have driven the A52 to Derby so many times now that I have lost count. Each time we would pass the turn off to Elvaston Castle Country Park and think nothing of it. Then one day whilst attending the church working bee, Michelle informed us that this country park was definitely worth a visit, that apart from the park there was a ruin of a castle and some pleasant walks, colourful gardens and surprising topiary.

Monday was a bank holiday (May Day apparently but it is just referred to as a bank holiday). The weather was a perfect English spring day. Sunshine filled the sky and a gentle breeze kept a coolness in the air. It smelt fresh and clean. A perfect day for a visit to a country park.

We took the familiar journey down the A52 and turned off into the village of Borrowwash down a country lane and arriving at the carpark for the park about 9.00am. There were quite a few vehicles there already but plenty of car spaces. We parked paid the ranger for our 4 hours parking and strolled off with the intention that we would come back to the car to collect our picnic. The park is a delightful mix of woodland with shady walks, gardens with a feast of colour and scents, and a surprising topiary garden of privet and holly.

Our visit included a walk through the English Garden with its beautiful blooms

The topiary garden with its wonderful shapes and hiding places for the kids

The Home and courtyard, the Church and the Water Wheel a bit of a mystery

The garden walk around the lake with some magnificent trees

We finished with a picnic overlooking one of the open grass areas. The carpark was now full with cars circling looking for a space and the grounds were alive with people all enjoying the sun and the fresh air.

A bit of history and the future about the Castle:

Wikipedia reports “Elvaston Castle is a stately home in Elvaston, Derbyshire, England. The Gothic Revival castle and surrounding parkland is run and owned by Derbyshire County Council as a country park known as, Elvaston Castle Country Park. The country park has 200 acres (0.81 km2) of woodlands, parkland and formal gardens.

The centrepiece of the estate is the Grade II* Listed Elvaston Castle. The castle has been neglected and has fallen into disrepair; due to its condition, the building is not open to the public, and since 2008 has been listed on the Buildings at Risk Register.”

However something is happening as when we visited there is scaffolding all around the stately home and limited access to the hall on particular days is now organised by the council. Highgate Sanctuary is a developer and its website tells us that “Working with English Heritage and the County and District planning and conservation officers, Highgate Sanctuary is preparing a planning application under which the Castle and its immediate buildings will be thoughtfully restored to their original grandeur, providing a hotel with spa and leisure facilities.”

Hopefully the open spaces and gardens will still be available for public use in the future.

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