Winter lays bare Dovedale's landmarks

This famous limestone gorge, a National Nature Reserve, makes for an inspiring walk any time of year but the bare trees of winter offer the chance to see Dovedale at, arguably, its most dramatic. 

Without the leaves and vegetation to obscure, the remarkable limestone and gritstone rock features can be seen more clearly either side of the River Dove. 

Icons and drama

Heading north into the valley, just beyond the iconic Stepping Stones, is the limestone promontory known as Lover’s Leap. The name comes from a dramatic event said to have happened here in the early 1800s, which thankfully had a happy ending. 

Get up high

If you climb up the 100 or so steps to Lovers’ Leap you will get a good view of the tall heights across the river of Dovedale Castle.  

The fin-like features of Tissington Spires jut out into the tops of the Dovedale valley
Tissington Spire rock feature in Dovedale, Peak District
The fin-like features of Tissington Spires jut out into the tops of the Dovedale valley

North east from here are the fin-like pinnacles of Tissington Spires and then, a little further on, you come to the dramatic Reynard’s Arch, high upon the Derbyshire bank of the gorge. Behind the arch are two caves, Reynard’s Cave and Reynard’s Kitchen. It was here that is said to have been the hideout for a local brigand, who the features are named after. 

The opening to Reynards Cave in Dovedale where prehistoric and later archaeological remains were discovered
Reynards Cave in Dovedale, Peak District
The opening to Reynards Cave in Dovedale where prehistoric and later archaeological remains were discovered

Hidden treasure

In 2014, an excavation unearthered a hoard of Late Iron Age and Republican Roman coins in Reynard’s Kitchen Cave. 

This was a significant find: not only was this the first time coins of these two origins had been found buried together in a cave in Britain, but also to find Late Iron Age coins buried within a cave setting is very unusual in itself. You can see the coins for yourself at Buxton Museum. 

Standing proud

From this point, looking over the river, is Dovedale Church. Then, beneath Bunster Hill, sit the Twelve Apostles and Ilam Rock stands proud amidst a dramatic setting across from Pickering Dale. 

Fierce creatures

At Pickering Dale you will find the Lion’s Head Rock, so named due to its resemblance to the feline king. Just along from here is Pickering Tor. 

Pickering Tor is remarkable any time of the year but imagine what you can see when the trees are bare
One of Dovedale's rock features, Pickering Tor
Pickering Tor is remarkable any time of the year but imagine what you can see when the trees are bare

As you head into Nabs Dales you will come across the cavernous Dove Holes, always worth exploring. Just beyond here are The Nabs, across from which is Ravens Tor. 

The cavernous Dove Holes are waiting to be explored
The entrance to the cave known as Dove Holes in Dovedale in the Peak District
The cavernous Dove Holes are waiting to be explored