The Park at Grimsthorpe is extensive and well worth exploring. If you want to discover the place on foot, the best way is to follow signs for the trails. They can take you on a route of up to 10 miles, taking in many of the interesting features of the park.
You can also cycle the same routes using either your own bikes or by hiring ours.
Chances are you will spot some of the wildlife that has made its home at Grimsthorpe. Buzzards, Red Kites, Swans, Geese and various ducks are here at one time or another.
Red, Fallow and Muntjack Deer are also resident along with many other British mammals. During warm sunny weather you can also spot Dragonflies, Damselflies, Butterflies and Beetles.
The park is teeming with wildlife but it’s also a very tranquil and peaceful place that we hope you will enjoy.
There are three species of wild deer in the park, but they are nervous and secretive creatures that are usually only glimpsed in the distance.
There are Red Deer and Fallow Deer in the compound close to the car park. It is not possible to gain access to the compound but as many of the animals have been hand reared it is quite likely that you will be able to see them during your visit. Please note that the field is surrounded by a live electric fence. Small children must be supervised at all times and it is not advisable to try and put hands through the fence netting.
In the 12th century the park at Grimsthorpe was still covered in dense woodland, and it is thought that the Earl of Albemarle granted the use of this land to the Cistercian Order of monks. They sent an abbot and 13 monks from Fountains Abbey to clear the land and build. The monks called the area Vallis Dei, meaning the valley of God, today known as The Vaudey.
The monks created stews, or fishponds. They cleared and enclosed land to hold deer. The wealth of the monastery was based on the wool trade that declined in the 14th century. Bu the time the Abbey was suppressed, on the orders of Henry VIII in 1536, few monks remianed.
By 1736 little was left of the Abbey buildings and a local antiquarian, William Stukeley, noted that ‘the foundations of the ruins of the abbey generally remain from the gatehouse to the dovecote’.
During some excavation work in the river bed in 2006, three large pieces of carved stone were discovered. In the photo above they look as though they could have formed part of an archway.
Lord Willoughby’s Railway
Known as ‘Lord Willoughby’s Railway’ the line that ran from the village of Edenham, across estate land to its junction with the main London line at Little Bytham, was operational between July 1856 and July 1873. It carried both goods and passengers and would have been at the cutting edge of technology in its time.
The route of the line is still visible on maps and it is possible to walk or cycle along part of the route when the park is open to the public. The fascinating story of this life-sized train set can be found in a book, available to purchase in the gift shop, written by RE Pearson and JG Ruddock.
There is also a scale model of the locomotive and some carriages on display in the Willoughby Memorial Gallery in nearby Corby Glen.
Directions to get there
Turn off the A1 at the Colsterworth roundabout and head towards Bourne on the A151 after 8 miles until you will see Grimsthorpe Castle on the right hand side.
Do not drive in at the public gate. Pass this gate and continue to Grimsthorpe Village. 50m after the sign for Grimsthorpe Village you will find the Estate Office Entrance on your right.
This white picket fence is electrically controlled. Access in and out of the park will be controlled buy a member of the Virgin crew. Friends and family of passengers will need to leave promptly with the balloon retrieval vehicles on launching or leave their vehicles parked in the park until passengers return from the flight.