For the first time in almost 400 years, from the spring of 2014 visitors to the splendid hilltop 17th-century Bolsover Castle, six miles east of Chesterfield, will be able to take the high-level wall walk. The wall walk was originally built for Cavendish family guests as a platform from which to admire the stunning landscape, which stretches west for over 10 miles across the Vale of Scarsdale towards what is now the modern intrusion of the constant buzz of the M1. It’s all part of a £1 million restoration project by English Heritage for what is known as the Little Castle at Bolsover, which is recognised as one of the most important Jacobean buildings in the country. It is perhaps best known for its exquisite interiors, which comprise an opulent ensemble of decorative finishes, including gilded panelling, carved stonework and wall paintings, some of which have recently been restored by a team of conservation specialists. Bolsover Castle was built by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, a courtier to King Charles I, as a retreat for entertainment, cultural pursuits and horse-training facilities in the superb Riding School, deep in the Derbyshire countryside. Cavendish and his father Charles wanted to create a unique complex of buildings where they could impress their visitors. The new restoration offers visitors the chance to take a closer look at the surviving architecture and appreciate the vision and background to a cultured nobleman’s life from four centuries ago.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Parking nearby
- Little Castle not accessible to wheelchair users, some parts of the Riding House and Terrace Range suitable for wheelchair users subject to seasonal changes - call 01246 822844 to discuss. 107 steps to top of the Little Castle and 100 down to the bo
- Facilities: Disabled parking, interpretation boards, viewpoints, audio tour with hearing loop, tactile exhibits
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open Oct, daily 10-5; Nov-23 Dec and 24 Feb-29 Mar, Sat-Sun 10-4; 27 Dec-1 Jan, Wed-Mon 10-4; 13-17 Feb and 19-23 Feb, daily 10-4. Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan; 2 Jan-18 Feb. See website for opening times Mar onwards (last admission 1 hour be
Also in the area
About the area
The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.
The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.
The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.
Places to Stay
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