This has got to be one of the most popular picture perfect areas we have ever walked,it is a very easy walk by the River Dove through the Limestone ravine past the famous stepping stones,the caves at Doveholes .Ending in the picturesque village of Milldale before returning.This walk starts and ends in the top field car park at DE6 2AY
EASY WITH A GENTLY STEP CLIMB IN THE MIDDLE
The walk starts at the car park adjacent to Thorpe cloud (940 feet) the large hill which is at the entrance to Dovedale .You can climb to the top just to get a great panoramic view of the Dale and village and valley of Ilam.
For this walk and to keep it easy walk from the car park towards the hill and follow the path around its base ,after about 10 minutes you come to a wooden bridge that crosses the Dove with information stalls on the opposite bank.
Take a right here on either side of the river and follow it upstream for 1/2 a mile ,where the famous Stepping stones will come into view.
Carry on along the path into the Ravine into Dovedale proper,as you walk up the River the path is very well defined and mostly flat,with plenty of wildlife and nooks for everyone to investigate.
The only exception to the path keeping level comes at about 1mile in where there are some long shallow steps which take you over a large crag called Lovers leap ,there is a picnic/rest area at the top to catch you breath if you feel the need to.
On your way down you will see some thin outcrops of rock on the other side of the river sticking through the trees,these are called the 12 Apostles,can you count them ,the same type of rock formations appear on the path side of the river and they have the name of the Tissington spires.
The path drops down to the river here and becomes an elevated wooden walkway for a short section ,carry on until you pass a wooden footbridge (don’t cross),on the other side is a very high escarpment called Ilam rock which is used by climbers, to practice on
You may have noticed on your journey especially around this area logs with coins knocked into them ,some have been there for 100’s of years and it was said to give you good look on your journey through the ravine,when it was a major route between villages.
Keeping to the path for another 1/4 mile ,you will come upon one of Dovedales big attractions Doveholes which are huge caves you can climb up to just above the path ,these have been used by people for millennia from living in,to shelter and burials.
Its only 1/2 a mile now to the end of Dovedale which now opens out into a lush valley ,there are now several gates to go through please make sure they are closed after you and your dogs are on leads,as these fields have livestock in them .
When you reach a stone bridge cross over into the picture perfect village of Milldale here you can sit by the river and have a rest before you backtrack through the valley returning to the start point.