Walks in the Dovedale Area - From relaxed to Challenging
Dovedale is the name given to the spectacular section of the Dove valley between Thorpe Cloud and Milldale. With its breath taking limestone gorge, steep cliffs and numerous caves it is one of the most popular areas of the Peak Districts. The River Dove runs through it like an artery and the area is a bounty for people coming to fish for trout. Away from the riverbanks though, the area is a haven for walkers looking to get out and explore the best of the British countryside.
For those looking for such an adventure, there is a superb circular walk around the valley that starts and ends at Milldale. Dovedale and its famous stepping stones are a hotspot for tourists and walking above the dale is a great idea for those looking to get away from the main hub. Starting from the car park in Milldale, you can head to the caves known as Dove Holes which are well worth an explore. The walk goes on to Upper Taylors Wood, Lovers Leap and the famous peaks of Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill. Coming back down into Dovedale Wood and past Ilam Rock, this is a good, easy underfoot trek of around 7 miles that should take you 3 or so hours.
There are many walks around the area and the White Peak OS Map and a compass are probably a good idea if you want more than a gentle stroll. Dovedale is a wonderful area to walk around because the scenery is so changing and colourful. You can climb up a hill to be greeted by a view of gorges and valleys on one side and rivers and fields of golden yellows and lush greens on the other.
For those wanting to make more than a day of it, the area also has a nice selection of guest houses and hotels to retreat to warmth and comfort after a day exploring the valley. Walking remains the most popular pastime in the Peaks, despite the continued growth of climbing and other extreme sports. Whether a warm sunny day or a chilly Autumnal morning, walking in and around Dovedale is an experience that is almost too satisfying to do once. There are several walks in the area to choose from depending on if you fancy a short amble or a lengthy hike. Having walked all over the Peaks, Lakes and Yorkshire Moors during the past several years, I find myself returning to the Dove valley time and time again to enjoy it's treasures.
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