Dove Dale Circular Walk - Peak District

Dove Dale valley

This is an easy but extremely picturesque circular walk along the Dove Dale valley, passing some fascinating sights such as the the Dove Dale stepping stone, caves, Lions Head Rock and the Tissington Spires

This walk starts from the National Parks car park (this is a pay and display) at the southern end of the valley. Getting to Dove Dale is straight forward by heading for the A515 through Ashbourne and then onto Thorpe. Passing through Thorpe village, the car park is a short distance from Izaak Walton Hotel on the right hand side.

From the car park the dale is accessible by crossing a wooden bridge over the river Dove to the right hand side of the bank. The walk takes an easy route north following the river to the stepping stones.

River Dove stepping stones
On our visit the water level was extremely high and the current was strong, therefore we were unable to cross (you may be able to see from the picture above a couple of the stones had been washed away) however in 'normal' conditions these are open by the National Trust for the public to cross, but are closed in bad weather if there has been large rain falls.

From the stepping stones a limestone hill called 'Thorpe Cloud' can be climbed to get a fantastic view of the valley and at only 287 meters high it is not a difficult ascent to reach the summit and therefore well worth a detour.

Passing the stepping stone the route passes through a woodland where a number of caves 'Dove Holes' can be explored and the famous Lions Head Rock looks out from the valley wall.

Lions Head Rock
Following the main path (and a steep climb through 'The Nabs') the path once again picks up the river Dove, to a group of limestone buttresses called the 'Tissington Spires' and Ilam Rock.

Tissington Spires and Llam Rock

Crossing the wooden bridge at Ilam Rock the path leads towards Milldale. From Milldale the route heads back to the car park following the river Dove passing Ilam Weir and tops. 

A fantastic walk through a beautiful limestone valley, which can be enjoyed in an afternoon either by completing the full route or by just taking in some on the scenery on offer - A highly recommended excursion in the Peak District.

Further information regarding the Dove Dale Valley can be obtained from the Peak District Nation Park website and also the following video


As always, if anyone has an interesting walk/route/trail they feel would be of interest I'd be happy to include it on this Blog (please post to - full accreditation will be given to the author and website if applicable.

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