Milldale to Hartington Walk

A 5 mile linear Peak District walk starting from Milldale.

Start: SK 13598 54786 – DE6 2GB
Map: Landranger 119, Explorer OL24
Difficulty: 3
Refreshments : Milldale, Alstonefield and Hartington

This Peak District walk starts in the village of Milldale. Milldale is an excellent starting point for exploring Dovedale but on this walk we head north through Alstonefield and Narrowdale descending to the River Dove at Beresford Dale.

The walk down the steep sided valley from the car park into Milldale is an attractive one. Ahead of us is the old mill race on the River Dove there is little left of the old corn mill that stood here although there is a millstone in the middle of the stream. To the right is Viators Bridge a medieval packhorse bridge, named after one of the interlocutors in Izaak Walton’s book The Compleat Angler. Beside the bridge are the old stables now an information point owned by the National Trust.

After walking up the hill passed St Peter’s church we arrive at Alstonefield. The village lies on high ground between the Dove and Manifold valleys and has won the best-kept village award on numerous occasions. For late starters who fancy more than just a packed lunch The George pub with its lime washed walls and roaring fire is a welcome site. Daffodils line the village green in spring and in summer the leaves from the tree on the green provide shade to the weary walker.

Narrowdale lies between Gratton Hill and Narrowdale Hill, both hills are well over 1000ft in height. Robert Plot in his book The Natural History of Staffordshire noted that for a quarter of the year the inhabitants of Narrowdale never saw the sun, at other times they did not see it before 1 p.m., a time known locally as the Narrowdale noon.

The limestone gorge of Beresford Dale is a narrow tree lined dale. The word Dove comes from the Gaelic word dubh, meaning black, in this narrow dale the river certainly runs dark as it tumbles over little weirs towards Wolfscote Dale. Pike Pool a little further on gets its name from the rocky tor that rises up out of the river like a pike. Beresford Hall the home of Charles Cotton, friend of Izaak Walton stood above the dale. A tower built close to the sight of the old hall is all that remains.

Centred on its Market Square Hartington, famous for its Stilton cheese is located midway along the Dove valley. Hartington Mere built to hold rainwater in times of drought is a pleasant spot to sit and watch the ducks. The cheese factory sadly closed a few years ago but the old cheese shop adjacent to the mere is still open and now sells cheese made locally by Hartington Creamery a new venture that started cheese production in 2012. There is a good selection of pubs, shops and cafés situated around the Market Square.

Milldale to Hartington Photo Gallery

Milldale to Hartington Walk Directions

From the car park walk into the village and turn left past Polly’s Cottage and up Millway  Lane and into Alstonefield.

On entering the village turn right and then left down a wide track.  Just before Gratton Hill turn left  through a stile and follow this path across fields to an intersection with another path. Here turn right through a stile, cross the lane and go through another stile onto the slopes of Narrowdale Hill.

Follow this path above Narrowdale, eventually descending to a farm. Go through the farm and turn right, the path now winds down into Beresford Dale. Head north through Beresford Dale passing Pike Pool and cross the river by the footbridge. Follow this path all the way into Hartington.

Copyright © Peter Cox. All rights reserved