As we left the house at Chatsworth, we walked along the river that led back to where we had started our walk from. It is a pretty large river and has a strong flow including a cool weir. Shortly before we got back to the car, we came across an old mill house. I am not sure whether the river has realigned over time or whether there was a strong flow down from above that is no longer in place but there was once a working mill in this location.
The stone walls of the building are still in good shape. The roof and any other wooden elements have pretty much gone at this point. Inside the building you can still see some of the iron work and the remnants of the axle of the waterwheel. There are gaps in the walls that show where other parts of the building were once located. The entrances are closed off so it isn’t possible to get in to the building. The wildlife obviously finds a way in. A sheep was quietly using the walls as shelter while we were there.
Plenty of people have rock gardens. When you have a country estate, the scale of your thinking can change. A rock garden now turns in to something that is a little more grand than average with rocks that should really be classified as boulders. We were actually beginning to wrap up our visit to the gardens at Chatsworth when we came through the rock garden. This place would be phenomenal if you are a kid. So many places to climb on and jump across. The opportunities for bumps and bruises would be many but it would be so worth it.
Exploring the grounds of Chatsworth House took us to places we had not seen on previous visits. Even if you exclude the majority of the estate and just focus on the organized garden areas, there are so many parts to see that it is easy to overlook them. This is why, despite having been to Chatsworth on a number of occasions, this time I saw areas that I had not seen before. One of these was the Grotto Pond.
Because this area is one of the furthest away from the main house, the number of people making their way that far out is pretty small. It is not deserted by any means but it is pretty quiet. This is ideal given how tranquil the setting is. It was very easy to just stand and look. Given how far out in the country you are, there isn’t much background noise so you can let your mind wander…
If you have a big country house, you will be housing a lot of people. No doubt, there will also be times when you will host a large gathering. You need to be able to feed everyone. The estate produces a lot so it will cover many needs but the kitchen also has to have its own garden. Located a short distance from the main house and slightly up the hill, Chatsworth’s kitchen garden is very extensive. It has a lot of space and many different types of food in production.
As with everything else about a place like Chatsworth, function does not override form. The gardens are laid out beautifully and with structure. They are functioning still yet they are a place worthy of visit just for the appearance. Some areas are restricted to keep the visitors from inconveniencing everything too much but much of the space is fully open to wander through. The staff is busy but were willing to talk if you had questions.
As country estates go, Chatsworth House is probably up there as one of the more grand ones. Seat of the Duke of Devonshire, the estate is substantial and the house and grounds are quite something. We have visited on a number of occasions including touring the interior. While I don’t normally bother with the insides of these places, Chatsworth is certainly one that should be experienced. Some parts of the interior are quite stunning. This is not a collection of musty furniture that some long deceased monarch once slept on. This is a grandiose place.
This trip did not include an interior tour though. This was part of a hike that took us in to the grounds. It is fair to say that the distance we walked inside the grounds was actually longer than the rest of the hike but that is an example of how extensive they are. I will post separately about some aspects of the grounds as there are many different places that might fill up a single post. We had never explored the grounds so extensively before so some of these parts were new to us.
The house itself is a very grand structure. Located along the river with an attractive bridge leading you there, the setting is very impressive. Much of the surrounding countryside is elevated relative to the house so wherever you are, you get a view down to it. The effect is to remind you regularly of just how grand it is!