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Walk 9

One of a series of local walks produced by

Aston on Trent Local History Group

*More detailed route information and other footpath links can be found on OS Explorer Maps 245/259.

If you have mobility issues please check first

Aston on Trent History Walks

Number: 9

(Thulston and Elvaston Castle)

5.2 miles / 8.3 kms

Approximate time – 2.5 hours

Flat easy walking. Most walks use countryside footpaths. Please consider weather and ground conditions.

This pack contains a basic map, route directions * and history notes

Aston on Trent History Walks

Walk 9 – Thulston and Elvaston Castle

Starting at All Saints’ Church Lychgate head north to the centre of the village, pass the Post Office continuing up Derby Road for 1.25 miles, over the A50 bridge then on the left you will pass an ancient Plague Burial Site (1) and just after the Gas Terminal a stream passes under the road. This marks the Aston Parish Boundary(2) line, then to the junction with the B5010 Derby – Shardlow Road (The old A6). Cross the road to the driveway to Thurleston Grange(3) To the left take the stile and footpath across the fields, through a gate and narrow jitty leading you to the Borrowash road. Continue, leaving Thulston village and entering Elvaston Village(4).

Through the village and, after passing Turnberry Caravan site on your right, continue for about 100 yards and on the left by two houses take the driveway into the Park and Elvaston Gardens (5)

Keep to the right following the driveway which ends in a cobbled area in front of the entrance to Elvaston Castle(6).

The castle has tea rooms, shop, a lake, nature reserve and the Country Park to explore.

When ready to return to Aston make your way back to the castle entrance. With your back to the door walk straight on through the box hedge garden and along a track lined with yew trees.

Pass through the Golden Gates(7), cross the driveway and continue forward towards the long avenue. OPTION 1 Leaving the Golden Gates behind, cross the driveway and immediately head diagonally left of the avenue to a kissing gate in the fence. Into the large field, take the well-marked footpath exiting the field through another kissing gate between houses and a horse paddock to enter Thulston. Take the inclined path to reach the Harrington Arms and main road. Turn right along Broad Lane for 300 yards to meet the B5010.

OPTION 2 Continue up the long wide avenue until you meet the B5010. Turn left, taking the pavement for a quarter of a mile past Grove Farm.

Gate Houses and Bells (8) At the B5010 and at the Golden Gates there were gate houses in which lived employees of the estate, who would open the gates at the approach of the Earl’s carriage and ring their bell to alert the next gate, who in turn would ring their bell to alert the House of the Earl’s approach,.

At the B5010 turn left and continue past the Thulston turn and in 100yds on the left is the site of the Toll House (9).Turn right at the road junction into Derby Road and back to Aston, crossing the A50 (10) and through the village to the start of the walk.

We hope you enjoyed your walk.

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Items of historic interest – Walk number 9

1. Plague Burials. In the fields to the left of Derby Road, somewhere near the Crematorium there are burials from the days when the plague hit Derby in 1666.

2. Aston Parish Boundary. Just past the Gas terminal a stream passes under the road. This marks the Parish boundary between Aston and Elvaston .

3. Thurleston Grange. This large house was built by the Earl of Harrington as a Vicarage for the Vicar of Elvaston, It later became a boy’s private prep-school and is now a private house.

4. Elvaston Village. Most of the village was part of the Elvaston Estate, the large house on the left, Clock House was a dower house of the Elvaston Estate, The road originally went through the gardens, but was diverted to the right around the walled gardens.

5. Castle Gardens. These were laid out by William Barron for 4th Earl who had married a showgirl Maria Foote in 1831 The gardens were extended and transformed making them a make believe “stage” which they enjoyed till she returned to London. The gardens were the envy of Europe.

6. Elvaston Castle. The area around Elvaston has evidence of occupation from the ninth century when Danish farmers settled in pleasant country near the River Derwent Henry V111 granted Michael Stanhope the Lordship of the manor of Elvaston in the mid sixteenth century and, although not occupied by the Stanhopes from pre WW2, it remained the seat of the Earls of Harrington until 1963 when it was sold and became England’s first Country Park. The house was rebuilt by the 3rd Earl of Harrington in 1815 and he used the skills of William Barron to design the garden with his unique method of moving mature trees. Elvaston has a rich history including being attacked by the Roundheads during the Civil War.

7. Golden Gates. These gates were at Versailles and brought to Elvaston by Charles 3rd Earl of Harrington in 1819. Derbyshire County Council renovated the Gates a few years ago and they look splendid in their coat of blue.

8. A6 Avenue and bells. This avenue was the main entrance for the Harrington family. The gatehouses at this site and at the Golden Gates, (now demolished) announced the arrival of the coaches by ringing a bell. It is said by old retainers of the estate that no one was allowed to cross or walk on the Avenue, they risked dismissal if they did. Many very fine trees were planted either side of the Avenue.

9. A6 Toll House. This hexagon shaped toll house was sited on the left of the B5010 just before the footpath sign, it was built to take tolls on the new turnpike road. The History Group have photos of the house, sadly in a ruined state, just before its demolition.

10. A50 bypass. The A50 was built to bypass Shardlow which was having problems dealing with the volume of traffic. It threatened to cut through woodland and be too close to Aston, so the residents formed SAVE and were successful in getting the road diverted further away and a planned junction removed.