About the Dovedale Walk
Dovedale is part of the Peak District National Trust in Staffordshire. Home to picturesque views and stunning greenery, the Dovedale Walk is a popular tourist spot with stunning stepping stones this walk attracts thousands of nature lovers every year. Its rich natural environment is soaked in bright greenery and historic limestone. This Peak District hotspot is the perfect day out for families and their four-legged friends.
How long is the Dovedale Walk?
The walk takes can take between 1.5 – 4 hours depending on which route you take.
Dovedale walking routes
Dovedale Walk via the Dovedale car park
Starting point: Dovedale car park
Distance: 7.2 miles or 11.6km
Time: 3 – 4 hours
The Dovedale circular walk begins at the Dovedale car park. Turn right outside the car park and follow the well-marked path alongside the River Dove, which marks the boundary between Staffordshire and Derbyshire, upstream for around 500m.
Carrying on upstream, the path leads to the much-photographed, scenic Dovedale stepping stones. Alternatively, walkers can cross a small wooden bridge and follow a rocky path beneath Thorpe Cloud to reach the stepping stones – this route is only advised in dry conditions when the river level is low.
After crossing the stones, follow the signposted path to the village of Milldale. This section of the path is easy to navigate, so take a minute to gaze up at the limestone crags and explore the nooks of the river. Once you have reached Viators Bridge Milldale, you can cross the picturesque bridge to explore the village or continue on the path.
With the bubbling River Dale on your left, the path ascends a grassy zig-zag steep climb that is signposted to Bailey Hill. Once reaching the brow of the dale, the path will come to a section of drystone wall. Keeping left, contour along the dale and navigate diagonally uphill towards the fence. Continue on the path keeping the fence to your right before reaching a corner stile, cross the stile and continue on the track.
The path leads straight ahead to a drystone wall coming off the rocky summit of Bailey Hill. Follow the path to the top, where you can marvel at the stunning views. Continue along the ridge of Bailey Hill to a wooden gate known as ‘Brian’s Gate’. The path then begins the descent to the Nabs. The first section of the descent to the Nabs is steep and grassy. Take care in wet weather, ensuring you keep close to the wall on your left.
After reaching the rocky track of Nabs Dale, turn right for the final descent through the woodland to Dove Holes. After Dove Holes, you will notice a discrete single track to the left. This track gradually ascends back above Dovedale and Tissington Spires.
After Sharplow Dale, the path follows another high track for 1km in the direction of Thorpe Cloud. Continuing through several stiles, the path leads to a sign directing walkers down off the dale and to Lovers Leap – where the journey meets the River Dove once again. Turning left, follow the path back to the stepping stones and Dovedale car park.
Parking: Visitors can park at both the Ilam Park and Dovedale car park. It costs £3.50 for up to 4 hours of parking or £5 for over 4 hours of parking. National Trust members can park for free.
Dovedale Walk via Thorpe Station car park
Starting point: Thrope Station car park
Distance: 3.3 miles or 5.3km
Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
Starting at the Thorpe Station car park, turn right towards the Old Dog pub. Cross the road and continue straight ahead with the pub on your left. The path continues along the pavement and past the sign for Thorpe. Once you reach a bend in the road, take the footpath to your right next to the Peveril of the Peak sign.
The path reaches a wooden gate and stone stile, pass over the and take a left following the footpath to Dovedale. The summit of Thorpe Cloud will come into view – continue on the path. The route follows the footpath into the valley with a drystone wall separating you from Thorpe Cloud on your left. The footpath continues down to the Dovedale stepping stones.
For visitors who want to tackle the ascent up to the summit of Thorpe Cloud, take the footpath at the stepping stones. The steep climb will take around 20 minutes to complete.
After crossing the stepping stones, continue left until the path meets a wooden bridge to the left. After crossing the bridge, take the path to the right and climb over the wooden stile. Keeping the river to your right, continue along the path and across the fields.
Continue on the path until you reach the footbridge that crosses the river at Ilam Rock. After crossing the river, signposted for Stanshope, turn right and follow the woodland path signposted for Ilam. With the River now on your right, continue on the path. The path leads onto the road near St. Mary’s bridge, turn left and continue on the road for around 100km until you reach a footpath on your right. The path veers in two directions – take the path to your right that leads uphill to a stile.
Continue straight on the path until it evens out. Quaint farm buildings will come into view on the left, continue straight through a large metal gate. Once through the gate, the route leads back into the village of Thorpe. Contour to the left of the church and continue around the back of the church to the right. The path takes a sharp left into a woodland that will lead you back to the Thorpe Station car park.
DE6 2AT. Parking is free at the Thorpe Station car park.