I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences!
Published June 7th 2012
Dovedale is a National Trust property in the peak district located just outside of the scenic village of Ashbourne. The ravine hiking paths, dramatic stone cliffs, natural caves and beautiful scenery have made this area one of the most visited sites in the peak district. Roughly a 3-hour journey from London, a weekend away in Dovedale is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all ranges and abilities.
Hiking paths run along the River Dove through a limestone valley known as the Dove Valley. The riverside paths are accessible to walkers of all abilities and will provide views of the most famous valley landmarks. The Long Distance Walkers' Association provides more challenging routes for experienced walkers.
The Stepping Stones cross the River Dove between two iconic hills: Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill. The stones were installed in the Victorian era to help tourists easily cross the river and they serve the same purpose today. Although, depending on the time of year, the water can swell over the stones making it a wet and treacherous journey to the other side.
This shallow limestone cave is located at the top of a steep incline behind a natural stone arch. The incline starts off at a gentle slope, but quickly becomes quite steep and slippery. The path to the cave is covered with loose gravel and irregular rock formations, so appropriate footwear and climbing ability is necessary to avoid injury. The dramatic arch above the cave and views across the Dove Valley are worth the climb to the top.
Natural arch in front of Reynard's Cave. Photo by Erin Connelly.
Ilam Hall is located in the small village of Ashbourne, which is about 5 miles south of Dovedale. The hall contains a quaint tea room, which offers a wide range of cakes, cream teas and beverages. Outside the tea room are the Italian Gardens and next to the hall is a peaceful village church. There are also walking paths through the woodlands that surround the hall.
View of the gardens on a misty day. Photo by Erin Connelly.