By David Abbott
Recently a group from Olliers enjoyed the countryside of the park at Lyme as part of the continuing programme of wellness events which the firm runs for colleagues.
We met up in the old village of Disley, Cheshire, which is close to the edge of the Peak District National Park. From there we made our way up and out of the village via a quiet lane, and then an old trackway.
At the top of the rise we turned into the National Trust-owned park at Lyme. The 1400-acre estate, which includes parkland, moorland, ancient woodland and formal gardens, was in the hands of the Legh family for over 600 years. In the medieval period it was a great hunting estate and a sizeable herd of red deer still lives in the Park, managed by the Trust.
The grand house at the heart of the estate has been there since the 1500s and has been much modified over its centuries-old existence. Mr Darcy set many hearts a-flutter emerging from the lake here in the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice some years ago.
Skirting around the edge of the deer sanctuary, without spotting any deer (nor, indeed, any Mr Darcys), we made our way to the Hall, to enjoy hot chocolate in the coffee shop.
Much refreshed we thereafter climbed up to the tower known as the Cage, a well-known landmark in the park, which sits perched on a hilltop. It has, at various times, been a hunting lodge (where the ladies could admire the athletic abilities of the gentlemen as they chased stags and where, after the hunt, banqueting took place), a gamekeeper’s residence, and a poachers’ prison. From the hilltop there were commanding views over the surrounding countryside.
After enjoying the view, we descended and finished our circular walk by returning on tracks and a minor road to our start point in Disley village, 5 miles walked and wellness suitably increased.