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Major attractions in The National Forest and Beyond

There are a number of attractions in South Derbyshire.
Major attractions - Calke Abbey

Head to Swadlincote, a town of surprises such as the  Ski & Snowboard Centre  where all-year round fun includes the 650m Cresta Toboggan run. Just across town  Sharpe's Pottery Museum  traces the history of this locally important industry and hosts regular talks, events and exhibitions.

South Derbyshire and The National Forest are steeped in history. Surrounded by ancient woodland up to 1,000 years old Calke Abbey (above) is probably the strangest country house you will ever visit! Home to an eccentric and reclusive family who assembled their bizarre collections and allowed the house to fall into disrepair. Calke is the house where time stood still, now presented by the National Trust as a vivid example of a great house in decline - a must see!

At Rosliston Forestry Centre you can enjoy a whole host of activities for all the family including cycle hire, archery, laser clay shooting, bird of prey displays, miles of walks and a variety of events at The Glade in the Forest , the new outdoor arena framed by woodland.

Melbourne Hall was once home to Victorian Prime Minister William Lamb, who as Viscount Melbourne gave his name to Melbourne, Australia. You might think you have walked into a Jane Austin novel as you stroll through the formal gardens, laid out by Royal gardeners over 20 years from 1699. There is a fine 300 foot long yew tunnel and a beautiful wrought-iron Birdcage Arbour by the famous ironsmith Robert Bakewell.

Shardlow at the eastern end of the Trent & Mersey Canal developed as a busy port from 1777, one of just two canal ports in the country to survive in a near complete form. Shardlow is now a popular destination for pleasure boats and walkers.

With beautiful country parks, swathes of young and mature woodland, stunning wildflower meadows and sparkling lakes, the rolling landscape of is perfect for gentle walks long or short. Contact Swadlincote Tourist Information Centre for details of the many walks on offer. If you like guided walks, the National Forest Walking Festival takes place in May each year.

Things to do in the area range from small friendly local gatherings to large events and festivals drawing people from a wide area. A varied programme is staged annually at a number of major attractions including Calke Abbey, Rosliston Forestry Centre, Sharpe's Pottery Museum, Elvaston Castle and Catton Hall. The ancient custom of Well Dressing starts with a wooden board filled with soft, wet clay. Taking up to seven days of work, it will last only about a week before the clay dries and the flowers fade. Within South Derbyshire well dressing is practised at Etwall and Aston-on-Trent.