Beautiful views, one of the country’s best known valleys and the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones are all included in this exhilarating walk.
At first the walk takes you through the water meadows of the River Dove, before reaching the 18th century Coldwall Bridge. There is a milestone by the bridge indicating ‘Cheadle 11 miles’, that dates back to the days when this was a coach-road between Ashbourne and Cheadle. The road though was considered too steep and was eventually deserted.
The tiny limestone village of Thorpe is less than a mile from the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones, but still manages to maintain an air of peace and quiet even in the middle of the summer. The church has a Norman tower, but probably dates back further, in this ancient village, that was once a Danish settlement.
Soon after Thorpe is left behind, the route descends Lin Dale to the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones and then returns beside the Dove to the start of the walk.
Length: 3.75 miles.
Start/Finish: Dovedale Car Park. Avoid at peak periods.
Location: Off the A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road.
Terrain: Mostly easy walking, at first close to the river. The walk then climbs steadily up from Coldwall Bridge to Thorpe, which is followed by a gentle descent down Lin Dale. Dovedale Stepping Stones flood after particularly heavy rainfall, when the alternative route should be used.
1. Leave the car park on the path that runs between the toilets and the River Dove. A few yards further on go to the right over a footbridge.
2. Immediately you are on the other side of the bridge, go over a stile on the right. Head across the field angling slightly to the left to a stile by a loop in the river.
3. Walk by the riverbank for a short distance with the fence close on your left.
4. On reaching an open field, keep to the right to go through a stile and over a plank board in the bottom corner of the field.
5. Continue close to the river to reach a gate stile that leads onto a short track leading to the road from Ilam to Thorpe.
6. A few yards to the left, on the other side of the road, you will see a stile by a finger post sign. Cross the stile, angling slightly to the left across the field, to another stile by a metal gate.
7. Aim towards a hollow a short distance in front of you and follow it to a gate stile.
8. Continue close by the river, until you arrive at Coldwall Bridge. Here you turn left and walk up an old road that bends to the right near the top and leads you into Thorpe.
9. Walk down the road into the heart of the village, passing the church on your right, and then bearing left along Digmire Lane.
10. At the end of the lane, cross the road and walk through the short stay car park opposite, with the toilet block on your left.
11. Go over a stile at the top of the car park and walk along a track towards an old quarry.
12. Keep the old quarry on your right, as you gradually swing to the left to walk down Lin Dale to Dovedale Stepping Stones.
13. Cross the stepping stones and turn left down the road and walk back to the car park.
14. Alternatively, if you do not want to cross the stepping stones, which may be underwater, follow the riverbank to the left and, cross the bridge encountered earlier and return to the start of the walk.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Ilam Village with its alpine style cottages and close proximity to Dovedale makes it a very popular attraction. The National Trust grounds and country park of Ilam Hall are open to the public.
Ashbourne is one of Derbyshire’s finest towns, with a wealth of Georgian architecture. The triangular cobbled Market Place holds markets twice per week on Thursday and Saturday.
Tissington Hall (Tel. 01335 352200) a fine Jacobean Manor House in the heart of the village. Open to the public for guided tours. Please telephone for details or visit website.
The Old Coach House (Tel. 01335 350501) is an award winning tea room in the beautifully renovated Coach House to Tissington Hall. Open daily 1 March to 31 October from 11-4.30pm, during the remainder of the year open from Thursday to Sunday. Closed over the Christmas period.
The Dog and Partridge (Tel. 01335 350235) is a popular walker’s pub, passed by most traffic visiting Dovedale and situated close to the Tissington Trail. Open daily. Meals served lunchtime and evenings.
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The pretty village of Thorpe is little noticed by many of the thousands of visitors who pass through on their way to explore the beautiful valleys of the Dove and Manifold, which lie just beyond.
Many more walkers and cyclists also pass it by on the Tissington Trail, a short distance to the east of the village, but Thorpe unlike Tissington, does not attract large numbers of admirers.
It was the arrival of LNER’S Ashbourne to Buxton line that really started the tourist boom.
Many were the thousands who got off the train at Alsop-en-le-Dale Station and walked the length of Dovedale before catching a train home at Thorpe Station. The railway is no more, but cars still bring thousands of visitors to what is one of England’s most famous beauty spots.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.