The Chestnut Centre is a conservation and wildlife park, close to Chapel en le Frith, about a half hour drive north of the Barn.
The centre, set in 50 acres of Peak District grounds, has a focus on the conservation of otters and owls along with a variety of other birds and mammals.
What Is There To See And Do?
First thing to note is that the car park isn’t terribly big so, on a busy day, you may struggle to find a space.
Once parked up, you need to get tickets from the shop/tea room before setting out on the nature trail.
I took our two kids (8 and 4 at the time) and paid the extra 50p for the nature trail quiz – money well spent as the children loved looking for the questions and this kept them interested all the way round.
The nature trail starts by running along the upper part of the valley side, with deer roaming freely in the parkland.
Eventually, the path descends towards the animal enclosures where you double back to follow the brook along the valley floor.
The otter enclosures are great, with well placed platforms giving great views, even for little children.
There are plenty of information boards giving details of what you’re seeing as well as background on the species and individual animals.
The owl enclosures make photography a bit tricky but I was delighted that all the owls were visible during the day – a real treat for raptor fans like me!
The path and bridges between the enclosures were easy for us to negotiate but I’m not sure how easily wheelchair users or elderly visitors would get on.
The walk back up to the tearoom and car park was a bit steeper than I think some visitors had realised but there are benches on the way if you need to catch your breath.
Is The Chestnut Centre Worth A Visit?
It’s a great way to spend a morning or an afternoon and is close enough to the Barn to make a spur of the moment decision based on the weather, etc.
Children will love it and grandparents will too as the tea room looked to have a good selection of lunches and cakes, etc.