Just lately I’ve taken up brisk walking and running as a way of getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. A couple of weeks ago I headed out to Lyme Park, a beautiful estate on the fringe of England’s Peak District. It is now under the guardianship of the National Trust and encompasses almost 1,400 acres of beautiful parkland, moors and forest. If you’re lucky you may even spot the resident deer herd.
If the picture above has a familiar air then you may recognise it as Pemberley, the fictional country estate belonging to Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle was partly filmed here, including the somewhat notorious scene of Mr Darcy coming out of the lake.
Lyme Park makes a great day trip. You can easily spend half a day wandering around the house and gardens. If you love the chance to dress up in period costume (think cravats and mop hats) then you can don the period dress and have your photo taken. The house is a great place to cool down on a hot day and take shelter from the rain if the weather turns nasty. The surrounding gardens are spectacular and range from more formal rose gardens to a wilder ravine with lush ferns and flowers, a traditional orangery and a gorgeous tiered Italian garden. The lawn outside the main house is a great spot for a picnic with views over a beautiful lake and of the house itself :
But it’s really the wider park which will keep you coming back time and time again. I followed the Pemberley Walk, a 2 mile trail through locations used in the BBC’s filming. The views as you climb up to Paddock Cottage are spectacular and on a sunny day you can see far across the Cheshire Plain and to Manchester. There are plenty of other walks too, including the hike up to the Cage for fantastic views across the Peak District and a walk up to Lantern Wood where you have the best chance of seeing the estate’s red deer herd.
You can of course just go off wandering your own path. The helpful folks in the information kiosk next to the car park will provide you with a free map and then you have numerous choices in which direction to walk. It’s a great place to cycle, with numerous marked trails, and if you fancy trying orienteering then the park organises regular sessions. The kids will love the Crow Wood playscape with exciting rope walks and a badger den plus a tree house to boot.
There really is something for everyone at Lyme Park. If you find yourself on a city break in Manchester or staying in the beautiful Peak District then be sure to spend a few hours here in the great outdoors!