from river and forest pass to bleak moorland hills, the Snake Pass is a great drive

from the un-stately home to driving the Snake Pass, the vdubxs road trip adventure continues…

After a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast at my sisters in Clipston, she suggested we might like to visit the quirky National Trust property affectionately known as the ‘un-stately’ home and country estate of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. Anything quirky gets our interest, so with a new destination to explore, we said our farewells and hit the road again.

The various buildings of the Abbey are set in the ancient and fragile habitats of Calke Park, a designated National Nature Reserve with a variety of wildlife roaming around as you drive through the grounds. Scattered around were some magnificent ancient trees, some of the oldest in Europe apparently, with one called ‘Old Man of Calke’ thought to be over 1,000 years old! That said, weirdly I loved the one behind where we parked that looked like it had been struck by lightning!

couldn’t wish for a better day to visit Calke Abbey, the un-stately home!
couldn’t wish for a better day to visit Calke Abbey, the un-stately home!

I’m not really into touristy type pictures, but if you like my take on some of the interesting little found details around the Calke Abbey. Lorna and I took a range of photos and videos that are used below and covering the road trip, so if you want to see more, then please check our social media feeds… feel free to like/follow and enjoy! 🙂

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waste not want not vintage kitchen signage
waste not want not vintage kitchen signage

The ethos of the National Trusts work at Calke Abbey has been to sensitively repair and not overly restore the house to ensure its unique character is kept. It makes it such an interesting and intriguing place to visit. The Palladian architecture and grand, opulent interiors sat juxtaposed with simple everyday objects of different eras, bringing a sense of a living experience of the house as it was.

mirror mirror on the wall…
mirror mirror on the wall…

Sparse corridors linking rooms together often increased the element of surprise when entering the different contrasting rooms of the main building.

un-stately home, sympathetically repaired, not over restored
un-stately home, sympathetically repaired, not over restored

Beautiful distressed detail to be found everywhere in the house.

beautiful patina, sympathetically repaired, not over restored
beautiful patina, sympathetically repaired, not over restored

Small side rooms contained simple utility items found within the building as part of its careful renovation and were left to help bring life and insight to the building’s history.

fantastic array of vintage oil lights
fantastic array of vintage oil lights

Loved this innovative shower design, it would make a change from ‘washing’ with baby wipes on the road!

love this shower design
love this shower design

Before the days of MP3’s, 6″ singles kids, try getting this on your streaming service!

before the days of mp3’s, the vintage 45 rpm 6" single
before the days of mp3’s, the vintage 45 rpm 6″ single

Lorna loves books so the collection of vintage books in the library was her idea of heaven!

beautiful vintage books in the Calke Abbey library
beautiful vintage books in the Calke Abbey library

We had a fantastic day at Calke Abbey, loads to see and do for all the family, but after a good wander round, it was time to push on further north and find a place to stay for the night. Having consulted our Brit Stops directory, I wanted to take Lorna for a drive through the beautiful Peak District National Park along the famous Snake Pass on the A57.

I knew the Snake Pass from our early days of living in Leicester, and numerous trips to Glossop to collect VW panels from Alan Schofields for various vintage VW buses over the years! It’s a beautiful mountain pass to drive at an elevation of 1,680 feet (510 m) above sea level, located between Manchester and Sheffield in the scenic Peak District National Park. The road was engineered by Thomas Telford and opened in 1821.

from river and forest pass to bleak moorland hills, the Snake Pass is a great drive
from river and forest pass to bleak moorland hills, the Snake Pass is a great drive

The road twists, turns, rises and falls through stunning scenery and ever-changing backdrops of the peak districts beauty. Passing the vast expanse of Ladybower Reservoir, the tall shaded forest pass or the bleak moorland landscape. We had a great drive out to our final destination for the day, the Snake Pass Inn.We planned to stop over here for the night after todays stage of our road trip.

Snake Pass Inn award winning steak and ale pie
Snake Pass Inn award-winning steak and ale pie

Once set up for the night, we finished the day off with an award-winning Steak and Ale Pie and Chilli, plus a pint of ‘Moonshine’ ale to wash things down – a perfect end to the day!

Snake Pass Inn chilli and salad
Snake Pass Inn chilli and salad

Looks like we should sleep well tonight! That said, there are a couple of little niggles I need to look at on the bus first thing in the morning…

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