Dovedale to Milldale return
Dovedale is a dramatic limestone ravine situated in the White Peak District of Derbyshire and is owned by the National Trust. The Dale is just over 3 miles long from Thorpe in the south to Milldale in the north and is very picturesque with its many stunning rock formations which used to be, many years ago, parts of active coral reefs. Thorpe Cloud stands at 287m (942ft) lying between the villages of Thorpe and IIam. The famous picture card stepping stones are not far from the car park and the area is very popular with tourists for walking, cycling, picnics, relaxing and for children playing and paddling. A rough map of Dovedale can be purchased from the Dovedale Log Cabin in the car park which gives all the names of the rocks, caves and features to view as you wander and explore the dale. The River Dove with its quaint tumbling little weirs flows through the dale adding to its beauty. The river is famous for trout fishing and Charles Cotton’s Fishing House, which was the inspiration for Izaak Walton’s “The Compleat Angler”, is situated in the woods by the river near Hartington. Also watch out for dippers and maybe the odd kingfisher or heron beside this beautiful riverside and look for the rare wildflowers on the limestone dale sides.
Milldale is a small tranquil, clustered, riverside village of square stone cottages, surrounded by steeply wooded hills and being an end of the road village it is only visited by local traffic and lots of walkers and cyclists. Milldale is a good starting point for walks in this area by going north there is Wolfscote Dale, Biggin Dale leading to Hartington and of course to the south is Dovedale leading to Thorpe. The packhorse bridge over the River Dove that links Milldale to Dovedale is called Viator Bridge, viator meaning traveller. There are public toilets and an information barn provided by the National Trust. The barn was once the stable for the corn mill, which was demolised in the mid 19th century. Outside the barn the remains of the sheepwash, last used in 1965, has recently been restored. Milldale is also an important industrial archaeological site and for this reason was declared a Conservation Area. The village has a small shop which sells hot and cold drinks and food.
We park in the car park, please see directions for location. We make our way through the car park and walk between the toilets and the Dovedale Log Cabin. We head straight forward on the path through the fence line to the stepping stones, this part of the walk is suitable for wheelchairs. We cross the stepping stones then turn left and just follow the path with the River Dove on our left, admiring the beautiful scenery and dramatic limestone formations and outcrops. We pass by a bridge on the left and keep heading forward and then stop at the caves on the right for a look. We eventually cross a small bridge into Milldale village. We wander around Milldale before taking a break next to the river. We then walk back over the bridge and retrace our footsteps back to the stepping stones. Instead of crossing the stepping stones we keep heading forward until we arrive at the bridge. We turn right over the bridge and then left back to the car park.
This is a flat easy walk.
Approx 6.25 miles using OS map OL24 Peak District White Area.
Car park near Thorpe in Dovedale in the Peak District of Derbyshire
From Buxton take the A515 towards Ashbourne. After Tissington take the small road on the right to Thorpe then stay on this road towards IIam. After crossing the bridge over the River Dove take the first road (no through) immediately on the right to the car park.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in the car park near Thorpe and in Milldale. For refreshments there is the Dovedale Log Cabin in the car park and in Milldale there is a small shop.