Dovedale Walk

A 6 mile Peak District walk from Dovedale to Milldale and back.

Start: SK 14644 50960
Map: Landranger 119, Explorer OL24
Difficulty: 6
Refreshments : Dovedale and Milldale

This is a linear there and back walk starting at the main car park at Dovedale.

Rising straight up almost a 1000ft Thorpe Cloud towers above the River Dove. Little Switzerland is the name often given to this section of Dovedale and you can see why. The famous steeping stones are here helping the walker cross from the Staffordshire side of the Dove over to the Derbyshire side. Recently refurbished the stones were fitted with new blocks of limestone helping to make the surface smoother and safer to cross.

The walk is on well-surfaced paths with the only significant upward walking section being the steps up to and down from Lover’s Leap. After Lover’s Leap the walk arrives at Tissington Spires one of a number of limestone tors poplar with rock climbers in Dovedale

Reynard’s Arch, seen from the path and beyond Reynard’s Cave is an easy scramble, but if the rocks are wet it can be a little slippy. Further along Dovedale and right on the path is Lion’s Head Rock, walk a little further and we arrive at Pickering Tor. A footbridge crosses the River Dove right under Ilam Rock which has a cave often wet at it’s base. This area could have been the setting for Lord of the Rings it certainly has a particular feel about the place.

Dove Holes is next on our walk. The word Dove comes from the Saxon word ‘Dubh’, meaning black. The local rock climbers call the larger cave The Bat Cave! The larger cave is about 30ft high and 60ft wide. On the opposite side of the Dove, are Shepherd’s Abbey Rocks and caves. The turn off for Alsop en le Dale is just on the right, the high ground above is The Nabs, later on the left is Ravens Tor and on the right high above is Baley Hill.

As the walk reaches it’s half way point the scene opens out slightly before reaching Viators Bridge and Milldale. At Milldale there is a chance for refreshments at Polly’s Cottage and the opportunity to make a comfort stop before heading back down the path to Dovedale.

Dovedale Walk Photo Gallery

Dovedale Walk Directions

Follow the path on the Staffordshire side of the River Dove, if the water level looks high it may be advisable to cross the river at the footbridge and walk beneath Thorpe Cloud to the stepping stones.

If the river level is normal follow the tarmac path to the stepping stones cross the river and continue along on the Derbyshire side of the Dove. There are no route finding problems the path continues along the river until reaching Milldale. At Milldale you can obtain refreshments at Polly’s Cottage before retracing your steps back to Dovedale.

Copyright © Peter Cox. All rights reserved