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Ilam and Dovedale

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Ilam and Dovedale
Author: Marie Prime, Published: 18 Jun 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide star0 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide
Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Ilam and Dovedale
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide boot Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide
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0002_sunny_intervals Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Today's weather
13 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 8 mph W
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A 4 mile walk from the pretty village of Ilam (pronounced eye-lam). The route starts in Staffordshire but also crosses into Derbyshire at Dovedale. The walk is easy going with only a couple of short inclines. Along the walk you will negotiate several types of stiles, several gates, a set of wooden steps and a set of stone steps, also a few bridges are crossed. On the whole the walk follows the course of the Rivers Dove and Manifold. Some of the fields could be muddy after periods of wet weather and some could also contain livestock (both cattle and sheep). The walk would be suitable for dogs as long as they can negotiate the squeeze and fence stiles (see gallery). Toilets and refreshments can be found at the Ilam Hall visitor centre or in the alternative car park at Dovedale. A 20p charge applies for the toilets at Dovedale.

The walk starts from the pay and display car park located at Ilam Hall which is run by the National Trust, parking charges apply, £3.50 for up to 4hrs or £5 for longer (correct Jun 2017). There are a limited number of free spaces located in the village, these fill up very quickly. Alternatively, parking can be found at Dovedale which you pass through on the walk, so it is easy to pick up the trail from there, just before Waypoint 2 on the map. This is a pay and display car park and costs £3 all day (correct Jun 2017). From the centre of Ashbourne, travel along the A515 for just under 2 miles heading towards Buxton, turn left onto Spend Lane (signposted for Thorpe/Dovedale), follow this for just under 2 miles, then at a sharp left-hand corner, turn left onto Wintercroft Lane. Follow this passing through Thorpe and on to the next village, which is Ilam. The approx post code for Ilam Hall is Ashbourne DE6 2AZ. (The nearest post code for Dovedale and the alternative parking is Derbyshire, DE6 2AY.)

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Walk Sections

Start to Gate
Start to Gate

Start point: 53.0536 lat, -1.8062 long
End point: 53.0553 lat, -1.7978 long

With your back to the vehicle entrance, walk to the top left-hand corner of the car park and follow the path to reach the visitor centre, which is on the right. From the visitor centre, turn left down a flight of steps and walk down through the garden heading towards the church, the building that is on the left is a youth hostel. Go down a further set of steps and cross a gravel area diagonally left to join with an estate road. Turn right and, after a short distance, turn right again along the path to the church. (If you explore the churchyard, look out for the shafts of two 1,000-year-old Saxon crosses.)

Continue on the path passing through a gate beside the church and on to join a wider path. (In the distance you will see Thorpe Cloud, the large flat topped hill). Turn left and follow the path with a large grassy area on the right. Go through a gate beside Dovedale House, turn right and soon right again. Walk along the pavement until you are level with the Mary Watts-Russell Memorial Cross, which is in the centre of the road. This was built in 1840 in memory of Jesse Watts-Russell's wife. Jesse Watts Russell, a wealthy industrialist had inherited the estate in 1820 on the death of his father. He lived there until his own death in 1875.

Bear left, crossing over the road to join the side branch, walking in the direction of Dovedale and Thorpe. Stay on the right-hand pavement. Just beyond the last house on the left and at a lay-by, cross the road to turn left through a small wooden gate.

Gate to Wooden Footbridge
Gate to Wooden Footbridge

Start point: 53.0553 lat, -1.7978 long
End point: 53.0564 lat, -1.7816 long

Note that there may be cattle and sheep in the fields for this section. Veer right up a short steep uneven slope to reach a wider footpath. Turn right, following the path to cross a squeeze stile by a gate. Cross the next field heading towards Thorpe Cloud and go through a small gate. Continue over the next field, passing the rear of the Izaak Walton Hotel which is on your right. The hotel was named after the author of a book called The Compleat Angler. He fished the River Dove in the mid-17th century.

Cross a wooden fence stile, a narrow field and a second fence stile, then continue along the path as it veers slightly left to reach a third fence stile. Cross this stile and follow the footpath downhill through the trees. Go down a short set of wooden steps and veer left to go through a gate into a car park. Turn left between the toilets and the refreshment hut and walk along the path with the River Dove on your right. This is Dovedale. The river marks the boundary between the counties of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. On the river you may be able to spot ducks, heron and dipper, while sheep graze the steep slopes down to the river. The path passes the Izaak Walton Gauging station. This weir was constructed by the Trent River Authority in 1969, its purpose is to measure continually the flow of water in the river. After a short distance turn right, crossing a wooden footbridge.

Wooden Footbridge to St Mary's Bridge
Wooden Footbridge to St Mary's Bridge

Start point: 53.0564 lat, -1.7816 long
End point: 53.0514 lat, -1.783 long

Immediately beyond the bridge, turn right over a fence stile. Head across the field bearing slightly left to go through a small wooden swing gate, the River Dove will now be on your right. Walk along the woodland path, cross a fence stile and soon emerge from the trees. Cross the field veering slightly right to a gate and a short concrete bridge. Continue over the next field, the river is still on the right. Go through a small gate and follow the path around the edge of the field, with a line of trees on the right, heading towards a farm in the distance. Just before reaching the end of the field, turn right through a gate in the hedge. Bear left to reach the road at St Mary's Bridge.

St Mary's Bridge to Coldwall Bridge
St Mary's Bridge to Coldwall Bridge

Start point: 53.0514 lat, -1.783 long
End point: 53.045 lat, -1.7785 long

Take care and cross the road, heading diagonally left to a waymarker post (this is to the left of a telegraph post). Go through the gate and follow the grassy path over the field to cross a stile beside a metal gate. Continue forward bearing left around the trees, following the uneven path up to a further small wooden gate. Follow the grassy path, at first with a wire fence on the right and soon the river will be on the right. Continue along the river valley. As a bridge comes into view, keep left up a grassy bank to then cross a wooden fence stile. Turn right over the bridge, Coldwall Bridge.

Coldwall Bridge to Wooden Gate
Coldwall Bridge to Wooden Gate

Start point: 53.045 lat, -1.7785 long
End point: 53.0502 lat, -1.7858 long

Just before the end of the bridge, go through a squeeze stile on the right and walk through a small copse of trees. Emerging from the trees, cross the field, walking parallel to the hedge which is approximately 30 metres to the right. Go through a metal gate and keep on the track beyond. As the track bends left, go right up the grassy bank, heading for a marker post ahead. Keep on over the field, bearing very slightly left and following a series of marker posts. A view of Thorpe Cloud can be seen over on the right. The open field changes to a more dense area of trees and scrub, keep along the path following the various markers. At a split of paths, keep on the lower path and note that this area can be quite boggy after wet weather. The river is down on your right. Continue along the sometimes uneven path until a gate is reached.

Wooden Gate to Road Gate
Wooden Gate to Road Gate

Start point: 53.0502 lat, -1.7858 long
End point: 53.0544 lat, -1.799 long

Go through the gate. The area now opens up as you cross a field, keeping a line of trees and the river on the right. Go over a wooden footbridge and soon go through a wooden gate. Cross the next field to go over a short slatted bridge and through a gate. Continue over a further field and, just before reaching the end, bear left to take a wooden gate beside a stone bridge. Go up a flight of stone steps to reach the road. Take care here as there is no pavement and the traffic can be busy at times.

Road Gate to End
Road Gate to End

Start point: 53.0544 lat, -1.799 long
End point: 53.0536 lat, -1.8061 long

Turn right over the bridge. As you reach the Mary Watts-Russell Memorial Cross, cross the road to the left-hand pavement and retrace your outward route back past the church to return to the car park and the end of the walk.

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network Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author mumnpets and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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11 gallery images for "Ilam and Dovedale"

8470_0mumnpets1497631434 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
just past last house.
8470_0mumnpets1497631672 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Squeeze stile
8470_1mumnpets1497631673 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Gate with view of Thorpe Cloud
8470_2mumnpets1497631673 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Gate to Dovedale carpark
8470_3mumnpets1497631673 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Gauging Station
8470_4mumnpets1497631674 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Meadow footpath
8470_0mumnpets1497632009 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Fence stile
8470_1mumnpets1497632009 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Path toward farm
8470_2mumnpets1497632009 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Stile veer left around the trees
8470_3mumnpets1497632010 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Coldwall bridge
8470_4mumnpets1497632010 Ilam and Dovedale Walking Guide Image by: Marie Prime
Uploaded: 16 Jun 2017
Slatted bridge and gate

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