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Walk 3455 - printer friendly version

Manifold Valley & Dovedale om Ilam Walk

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 9.5 miles / 15.4 km

Ascent - 1850 feet / 561 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SK135508
Lat 53.054288 + Long -1.800043
Postcode DE6 2AZ (approx. location only)

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.

Walk 3455 Route Map

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