Chatsworth’s famous 105-acre garden will be turning on the taps for a celebration of its wonderful waterworks over half-term while over in the farmyard there’s fun for all the family as the estate’s experts demonstrate the ancient heritage skills still practised in our rural communities.

Meanwhile, the Cavendish family’s love of dogs means the #Chatswoof season includes a packed programme of doggie-fun in the garden with a dog agility course at the Maze that will test even the most energetic pooches. Over in the house, ‘The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth’ includes exceptional artworks from Constable, Gainsborough, David Hockney and Jeff Koons, as well as fascinating curios such as a dog’s four poster bed.

Wonderful Waterworks

Four lakes in the hills above the house, holding more than 80 million litres, supply Chatsworth’s water features. Relying on gravity, an elaborate system of ponds, watercourses and pipes, the water enters the garden above the Cascade before tumbling down its 24 steps, each playing a different sound.

The Cascade House will have its ‘jets’ turned on periodically during the week to give a good soaking to the unwary, while the 122m water drop from the lakes will allow the gravity-powered Emperor Fountain to be played at its full height of 90 metres.

Hands-on heritage skills

In the farmyard, the traditional Derbyshire custom of well-dressing, in which wells, springs and other water sources across the county are decorated with designs created from flower petals, is just one a host of rural skills are being taught this spring half term (25 - 31 May).

Originally associated with a belief in water deities, well-dressing is joined by dry stone walling, fly fishing, wool weaving and spinning, in a series of hands-on, interactive sessions open to both children and adults (see below for details).

There will also be demonstrations of how to dress a Shire horse, including platting and mounting brasses, while a farrier will demonstrate hoof care, including trimming and balancing and the placing of shoes on their hooves.

Taught by seasoned experts, many of whom work on the Chatsworth Estate, each session is designed to show children and families the centuries-old skills still used in rural communities.

Finally, any budding young farmers, aged between 6-11, will be able to join the farmyard team for some hands-on involvement in caring for the Chatsworth Farmyard animals including horses, pigs and sheep.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday 25-27 May: Build a mini dry stone wall as well as learning about their history from Sally Hodgson who has nearly 30 years’ experience of dry stone walling and is committed to retaining the heritage of the beautiful Derbyshire landscape.

Tuesday 28 May: Join Stuart Crofts to take a closer look at local river life by getting close up to the many fascinating creatures found in the river Derwent using powerful magnifying equipment.

Margaret Robson, wool spinner: Learn about the process of turning fleece to wool by spinning and weaving.

Peter Eyre will introduce one of his giant shire horses and demonstrate how these gentle giants are platted and dressed with brasses and leather.

Wednesday 29 May: Stuart Croft will be making fishing flies to imitate the natural food that trout feed on and children will be able to make their own insect models from craft materials in the farmyard.

Margaret Robson, wool spinner: Learn about the process of turning fleece to wool by spinning and weaving.

Peter Eyre will introduce one of his giant shire horses and demonstrate how these gentle giants are platted and dressed with brasses and leather.

Thursday 30 May: Bobbie Harvey will be helping adults and children to make their own mine well dressing to take away in a hands-on session to say ‘thank you’ for the water.

Margaret Robson, wool spinner: Learn about the process of turning fleece to wool by spinning and weaving.

Friday 31 May: Bobbie Harvey will be helping adults and children to make their own mine well dressing to take away in a hands-on session to say ‘thank you’ for the water.

Farrier Gavin Harris will demonstrate hoof care, including trimming and balancing and the placing of shoes on horses’ hooves.

It’s a dog’s life

Man’s best friend has taken centre stage at Chatsworth this year and half-term is no exception.

The Cavendish family are celebrating their love of dogs over the centuries with activities across the garden, parkland and wider estate. The #Chatswoof season includes lots of opportunities to get involved and the dog agility course at the Maze will test even the most energetic pooches.

In the house, ‘The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth’ is this year’s main exhibition with exceptional artworks from Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer sitting alongside contemporary pieces by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Elisabeth Frink.

The Cavendish’s personal relationships with their dogs are featured in photographs, paintings and letters ranging from Duchess Georgiana in the 18th century, to Duchess Deborah in the 20th and Duchess Amanda in the 21st.

Puppy school

Last year 24 puppies descended on Chatsworth for the filming of Channel 4’s new series Puppy School and the first of four hour-long episodes is broadcast tonight at 8pm (Friday 17 May) on Channel 4.

Every year, almost a million of us enjoy the fun and excitement of getting a puppy - but puppy parenthood can be hard work. Channel 4’s pop-up Puppy School, set against the backdrop of Chatsworth House, is run by three of the UK’s leading dog experts: Oli Juste, Katie Patmore and Hannah Molloy.

Each week, a new class of puppy parents from across the country will enrol. Through bespoke classes at puppy school, and coaching at home, they’ll learn how to navigate the minefield of puppy parenthood, as the team of trainers do their best to ensure that each puppy lives up to the special role it must fulfil in their family’s lives.

Ends

Notes to editors:

Chatsworth

The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth is a new exhibition running until 6 October 2019 of exceptional works from artists such as Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer sitting alongside contemporary pieces by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Elisabeth Frink.

Will Gompertz has chosen Chatsworth as one of the ten places that tell the history of England’s art, architecture and sculpture for the Historic England campaign Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places. The campaign aims to find the 100 places that bring to life England’s rich and extraordinary history.

He said: “Chatsworth is perhaps the finest example of the English stately home. There is a lot of history in its beautiful stone walls, some of which have been standing for nearly five hundred years. But it is still a living home with an energetic owner who makes sure that this historic building is still very much alive in the 21st century, sitting wonderfully – as it does – in the rolling hills of Derbyshire.”

Chatsworth has won the Best Historic Attraction in the Group Leisure & Travel Awards 2018.

The Chatsworth House Trust is dedicated to the preservation of Chatsworth House, the art collection, garden, woodlands and park for the long term benefit of the public.

The charity promotes the study and appreciation of Chatsworth as a place of historic, architectural and artistic interest and of natural beauty, and encourages the use and enjoyment of Chatsworth by visitors for education and recreation.

Chatsworth is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England. www.treasurehouses.co.uk

Chatsworth is only 16 miles from the M1, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links throughout the UK.

www.chatsworth.org

Follow Chatsworth on social channels:

Facebook:facebook.com/chatsworthhouse

Twitter: @ChatsworthHouse

YouTube:www.youtube.com/OfficialChatsworth

Instagram: @instagram.com/chatsworthofficial

For further information or images please contact:

Steve Houghton, steveh@redbrickcommunications.com

Liz Bee, lizb@redbrickcommunications.com

Redbrick Communications, 68 St James’s Street, Nottingham, NG1 6FJ.

T: 0115 910 1500

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