3.8 of 5 (9 votes)

Derbyshire delights in Dovedale

A moderate walk (riverside) in national park Peak District starting and finishing in Derbyshire, England, about 14.90km (9.26 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 4:30h. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 104m (341ft)
Descent 158m (518ft)
Max. Elevation 320m (1049ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 262m (859ft)
Hartington village, bus stop
Distance 14.90km
Duration ~4:30h
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 23 Jul 2008
Dovedale is one of the highlights of the Peak District. This is a beautiful valley, where the River Dove has carved through the limestone plateau to create the stunning scenery seen today. This walk can be done in one day, but the best way to enjoy the gorge is to take two days. Start in Hartington, which is well served by buses, and finish up in Ilam or Thorpe (there are more regular buses from Thorpe). The overnight stop is in Alstonefield, which has lots of places to stay.

Walk Functions


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Allsop Moor to Earl Sterndale via Hartington

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Walk Map

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OS Grid SK129604
The walk starts at Hartington village, near the northern source of the River Dove. This village is easy to reach by bus, with several Peak District services calling here. Take the footpath heading south past the Post Office.
OS Grid SK129591
After crossing open farmland, the path enters a small patch of woodland in Beresford Dale.
About 1.28 km (~0.8 miles) from
OS Grid SK131583
Heading south, the path soon enters the steep sided gorge of Wolfscote Dale. Follow the path that hugs the riverside, and enjoy the splendour of the valley, with its rocky outcrops and slopes heading up to Gratton Hill and Wolfscote Hill.
About 0.83 km (~0.52 miles) from
OS Grid SK147563
Keeping alongside the River Dove, the route passes Iron Tors, an area of woodland, including patches of ancient woodland. It is also supposed to be the place where the last wild boar was shot in Britain! Poor boar.
About 2.56 km (~1.59 miles) from
OS Grid SK131555
Cross the river at Coldeaton Bridge, and head west along the bridleway to Alstonefield. This pretty village is a great place to get a taste of the Peaks, and there are several accommodation options for all budgets: www.alstonefield.com/accommodation.html
About 1.75 km (~1.09 miles) from
OS Grid SK141560
Day two - enjoy a hearty breakfast and retrace your steps along the bridleway. There's plenty of time to reach Thorpe, so why miss a bit of this wonderful river valley?!
About 1.08 km (~0.67 miles) from
OS Grid SK146550
Where the path hits the road, turn left (heading east) for 200m and take the footpath heading uphill. The next section of path follows the top of the gorge above Milldale, giving a chance to see the valley looking down.
About 1.12 km (~0.7 miles) from
OS Grid SK139546
Just above the village of Milldale, the path drops steeply to rejoin the river. This is the start of Dove Dale, one of the finest river valleys in the country, and now managed by the National Trust. For the first section there is a path either side, so take your pick!
About 0.82 km (~0.51 miles) from
OS Grid SK144536
After 1.5 km, you reach The Nabs, an area of semi-natural ancient woodland that is rich in biological diversity, particularly flowers and rare tree species, including large-leaved lime - one of only four sites in Britain where the tree is found.
About 1.10 km (~0.68 miles) from
OS Grid SK144525
The walk continues through limestone woodland, with the river bubbling in the valley. Reynard's Cave is a natural feature high up on the eastern bank of the gorge. To the left is a smaller cave known as Reynard's Kitchen.
About 1.16 km (~0.72 miles) from
OS Grid SK147516
Lover's Leap, the hill on the east bank, gets its name from the story of a young woman who, on hearing that her lover had been killed in the Napolionic wars, threw herself off the top. Her skirt caught in branches and she climbed back up! The Apostles are the rocky limestone crags seen opposite.
About 0.94 km (~0.58 miles) from
OS Grid SK152512
Continuing south on the eastern side of the river, you reach Dovedale's famous stepping stones - stop for a classic Peaks photo. From here, you can head past Thorpe Cloud hill towards Thorpe village, or to Ilam.
About 0.63 km (~0.39 miles) from
OS Grid SK157502
The walk ends in Thorpe, which is served by a few bus routes, which head towards either Buxton or Ashbourne. They are not that regular, so check details beforehand. An alternative is to return the next day via the Manifold Way, which will bring you out near Hartington again.
About 1.09 km (~0.68 miles) from

2 comments... join the discussion!

30 Aug 2013
Buses From Thorpe

Thanks Steve, I have taken those off. Tim

30 Aug 2013

the info about buses from thorpe is out of date the new bus is the 101 and its timetable can be found here http://www.highpeakbuses.com/Documents/101%20-%20Ashbourne%20to%20Thorpe.pdf

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