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A Visit to Dovedale and Ilam Hall

Home > London > Cafes | Escape the City | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks | Weekend Escapes
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.

Dove Valley

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.

Dove Valley. Photo by Erin Connelly

Stepping Stones

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.

The Stepping Stones Walking Guide produced by the National Trust will take you on a 2.5 mile round trip walk to the most iconic sites in the Dovedale countryside.

Stepping Stones on the River Dove. Photo courtesy of John Darch.

Reynard's Cave

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 and Tea Room

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.

Ilam Hall. Photo by Erin Connelly.

Getting There

Dovedale is accessible by car and train.The National Trust's Dovedale webpage includes the most relevant journey planning information, as well as accommodation suggestions.

Dove Valley. Photo by Erin Connelly.
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Why? Experience a ravine walk, caves, scenic rock formations and an iconic river crossing in the peak district.
When: All year round
Where: Dovedale, Derbyshire, DE6 2AZ
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Title is a bit misleading as the Peak District is in Derbyshire... Not London...
by shell (score: 1|10) 3027 days ago
The Peaks are so beautiful. I miss living within easy reach of them.
by Cressida Ryan (score: 2|121) 2969 days ago
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