Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Dovedale - Derbyshire Peak District

Dovedale is a renowned beauty spot, around 2-3 (4.8 km) miles of easy walking along the river Dove. The scenery is stunning with the impressive rock outcrops that line the limestone ravine. We started our walk in the southern Peak District at the Izaak Walton Hotel, named after the author of a book called The Compleat Angler. He fished the River Dove in the mid-17th century. The name The name is derived from the old Norse word dubo, meaning dark. Despite greeting over a million visitors a year Dovedale gorge supports a vast range of rare habitats and wildlife. For this reason, it became a National Nature Reserve in 2006. Early on in the walk you come across 'The Stepping Stones' first set down for Victorian tourists to cross the river. The footpath continues for 2.5 miles (4km) to Milldale at the north end of the gorge and a set of steps climb to a limestone promontory called Lover's Leap. The original steps were built by Italian prisoners of war captured in the Second World War. The recommended walk ends in the picture postcard setting of Milldale, but we decided to continue with the aid of the trusty ordinance survey map. We went 'off piste' to get to the village of Alstonefield and a couple of pints in the local. Compared to the Dovedale trail this was almost devoid of any other walkers. It was a lovely walk back to Dovedale if a bit steep at times ! There was more excitement to come as we reached 'Thestepping stones' coming back there was a man clearly in some distress. It was difficult to tell exactly what the problem was but it must have ben serious as the Air Ambulance was quickly on the scene.

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