One can see a lot of beautiful scenery simply driving through Peak District National Park, but when you get the chance the ability to hike it is tiring but amazing. The National Trust site said the hike through Dovedale was easy, but once you pass Thorpe’s Cloud, the walk can be a bit more challenging. Climbing Thorpe’s Cloud is definitely difficult and I didn’t even go all the way up!
The National Trust maintains Ilam Park, a 158 acre estate dating back to the 16th century. The grounds are still maintained around the house as part of the buildings contain National Trust guide offices. The house itself is leased to a youth hostel and did not appear to be open to the public.
The walk begins at the front of the estate and passes the church, through the town to a field across from the River Manifold.
After passing through several fields by gates and climbing stiles, you reach a car park near the River Dove where there is a small National Trust booth selling guide books and souvenirs.
From there, the walk proceeds down the River Dove which separates Derbyshire from Staffordshire until you reach the “Stepping Stones.” The stones have been reconstructed, but can be crossed to reach the opposite side of the river, depending upon whether you crossed the river by the bridge near the car park.
At the Stepping Stones, Thorpe’s Cloud can be climbed and crossed to reach the town of Thorpe on the opposite side. I admit to climbing a portion where I stopped and let my husband take my children to the top. It can be rather steep and I wanted to walk more of the path which stretches to Milldale.
Once you pass Thorpe’s Cloud, the walk becomes a trail of natural sites, which you can trace in the guide-book, should you purchase one or a map printed from online. We passed Dovedale Castle, Lover’s Leap, Tissington Spires, and followed the path to Reynaud’s cave where we turned back.
I have seen maps online which suggest there is a path which circles back when you reach Milldale, but we were at Lover’s Leap when my children and mother-in-law were worn out. My husband and I were the ones who pushed further forward. Maybe next time we’ll finish the entire trail!
For those who enjoy hiking with your dogs, the trail is a common destination for people and their dogs. It was a great time watching those who enjoyed playing in the water. I have to say that the water was some of the clearest I’ve ever seen for a river. My children said that it was freezing when they waded in it! I’ve posted a map with this post to get an idea of the entire trail and the part we walked. I definitely recommend the experience. The scenery is breathtaking!
Next up…Nine Ladies Stone Circle