Peak District Walk
The Manifold Valley, Wetton and Dovedale from Ilam
|Ordnance Survey Explorer OL24||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer OL24||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 119||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 119||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
Walk Route Description
This Peak District walk visits two contrasting valleys. The Manifold valley is quiet and unassuming whereas Dovedale is usually busy and full of life. The route starts from the attractive village of Ilam and visits Wetton and Stanshope during the walk.
The start is near the centre of Ilam village (grid ref SK135508) where on street parking is usually available. If not there is pay and display parking alongside Ilam Hall. After parking walk northwest along the road passing the main entrance to Ilam Hall on your left and the picturesque village school on your right. After approximately 100 metres, take the signed footpath on your left. This path initially follows a track through parkland. When the track bends left, continue straight ahead on an indistinct path to the River Manifold.
Turn right (upstream) along the river on a path (not shown on all OS maps) to reach a lane by a cottage (Grid ref. SK128517). Turn left onto this lane. After a short distance, fork right onto a tarmac lane (marked private road). This is followed uphill to Castern Hall. Follow the track around the right hand side of the hall and along the back. Take the footpath on the left. This contours along the valley side offering a grandstand view into the valley and to the surrounding countryside.
The path swings north and this should be followed as it shadows the course of the river. Go straight on at the path junction (Grid ref SK118535) adjacent to the Castern Wood Nature Reserve. The next section is perhaps the most spectacular with the limestone outcrop of Beeston Tor visible on the on the valley side. The path turns away from the valley to a road (Grid ref. SK111544). Go straight across and follow the path across fields, passing to the right of a nice stone barn. Continue on the clear path down to Wetton village, which is now in sight. There is a pub in the village if you need refreshment.
Turn right onto Ashbourne Lane and then immediately left into Ashbourne Road. Continue along this quiet lane to the next junction. Here take the signed path on your right. This leads across fields to another lane rather quaintly named Wall Ditch! Go straight across and continue across more fields to Stanshope. You will pass an ill-defined path junction (Grid ref SK124543) by a trough on this section where you need to veer left over a wall stile.
From Stanshope take the track signed to Milldale. After 100 metres or so, turn right onto the signed footpath leading down through Hall Dale to Dovedale. This is a very pleasant dale with many wild flowers in season and is very typical of the area. Usually tranquil, this is an ideal place for a break before reaching Dovedale. At the bottom of Hall dale turn right and follow the River Dove downstream to a footbridge by Ilam Rock. Cross this bridge and continue downstream. Despite walking downstream there is still some ascent to complete on the section up to Lover's Leap.
It is likely, especially in fine weather, for this section to be very busy. However you can still admire the dramatic gorge through which the river flows. Quite soon the shapely outline of Thorpe Cloud comes into view. Arriving at the stepping stones (Grid ref. SK151513), stay on the eastern bank continuing downstream until you reach a footbridge. Cross this and walk along the lane. Reaching the entrance to the car parks on both sides of the lane, turn right into the car park and walk parallel with the lane to take the signed path on your right across fields and down to a lane in Ilam. Turn right along the lane back to the centre of the village.
Other walks nearby
Walk 3527 Dovedale and the Manifold Valley from Ilam - moderate - 7.5 miles/12.2 km
Walk 1475 Bunster Hill and Dovedale from Ilam - easy/mod - 4.5 miles/7.3 km
Walk 1195 A high-level Dovedale - moderate - 9.5 miles/15.4 km
Walk 3131 Thorpe Cloud and the Dove Valley - easy - 1.6 miles/2.6 km
Walk 1021 Milldale & Hall Dale from Alstonefield - easy/mod - 5.0 miles/8.1 km
Walk 1257 Wolfscote Dale from Alstonefield - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km
Walk 1709 Milldale and Wolfscote Dale from Alstonefield - easy/mod - 6.5 miles/10.6 km
Walk 3597 Manifold Valley, Thor's Cave, Ecton & Wetton Hills from Alstonefield - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km
Walk 3601 Dove & Manifold Valleys from Alstonefield - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km
Walk 2263 Grindon & the Manifold Way from Waterhouses - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking in the Peak District - White Peak East
Guidebook describing 42 half-day and day walks in the limestone landscapes of Derbyshire's White Peak, part of the Peak District National Park. One of two volumes, this book covers the east of the region, with potential bases including Bakewell, Eyam, Castleton, Birchover, Matlock and Wirksworth.
Great Mountain Days in the Pennines
An inspirational guidebook to 50 classic walks on the rolling Pennine landscape. The graded routes, between 6 and 13 miles in length, cover classic Pennine fells and moorland such as Whernside, Ilkley Moor and Pendle Hill; exploring the North and South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Howgills and Dark Peak. Many routes are also suited to fell running.
The National Trails
This inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.