Ilam Park to Wetton Circular Walk
This route has been chosen and written by the team of volunteer walk leaders at Ilam Park, who enjoy the mix of far reaching views and points of interest along the way. You may like to take a picnic with you and stop along the way.
Useful to note
Much of the route crosses farmland grazed by cows or sheep, so please keep your dog on a lead. There are stiles, hills and uneven ground throughout the route, as well as a small amount of road walking. There is limited mobile phone reception in the area.
Ilam Park stableyard
Leave the stableyard and walk towards the car park. Go through the large black metal gate into the parkland. Continue across the parkland then down a stone track towards the River Manifold. Cross over the metal bridge and head towards a squeeze stile to the left of a solitary tree. Then bear right towards another squeeze stile. Continue across several fields until you reach the road. Turn left and walk uphill and around to the right, following the road to Throwley.
Ridge and furrow in Ilam Park
Look out for the undulating pattern of the parkland - remains of the medieval ridge and furrow cultivation system.
At Throwley continue to the left through the farmyard. Soon after the Calton road sign there is a wooden sign and gate on the right. Pass through two gates and head slightly right up the hill towards a gate to the right of trees. Go through the gate and ahead over the brow of the hill. Continue down to pick up a track. A barn will come into view. Continue on the track, through a gate, passing the barn and over a stile beside another gate. On reaching Beeston Tor Farm, the track joins the Manifold Trail. Continue left, the trail passes over the River Hamps and through a caravan site, with the River Manifold on your right. At a junction of lanes, with Weags Bridge on your right, continue straight ahead along the Manifold Trail, until you reach a footbridge on your right.
The River Hamps is a tributary of the River Manifold, which flows into the River Dove near Ilam and Dovedale.
Cross the footbridge and follow the main paved path upwards, then take the signed right path to Thor's Cave. After admiring the views and the limestone cave, go back to the main path and continue uphill. Pass through two gates, keeping the field wall on your right. Just before the end of the field, climb the stile onto a track and turn left. Continue on the track until reaching the road. Turn right and after a few metres bear left into Wetton village. On reaching the Wetton Village Hall turn right to follow the path through the churchyard. When you reach the road, turn right, passing the Royal Oak pub. Continue until reaching the junction.
Turn right, signed to Grindon. After a few metres turn left onto a footpath. Aim for the solitary tree and stone barn on the horizon to the right. There is a stile just over the brow of the hill to the right of the tree. Pass through several fields to reach the stile. Keep the drystone wall on your right and head downhill to cross the lane and then continue south joining a path beside the escarpment. On reaching the 'Castern Wood Nature Reserve' sign, leave the path using the gate on your left. Bear right through old mine workings towards a wooden fingerpost sign. Continue south across the field heading for a field gate. In the next field the footpath merges with a green farm track. Continue on the green track until you reach a lane behind Castern Hall.
Turn right onto the lane, signed to Ilam. Continue on the lane downhill passing Castern Hall. Once over a cattle grid, you'll pass River Lodge on your right. Immediately after the lodge turn right off the lane. Continue along the footpath through several gates and into Ilam Park. Continue on the path keeping the River Manifold on your right. You will pass the Battle Stone on your left and then walk under large limes trees (Paradise Walk) with a stone wall on the right. As the path reaches the riverside, look out for the Boil Holes on the left of the path under the rockface. This is where water from the River Hamps and River Manifold emerge after flowing underground. Take the sloping path on the left to walk up to the Italian Garden and stableyard, where you started your walk.
River Lodge is now a private residence, but it was originally one of three lodge entrances to Ilam Hall. Gate Lodge near the village is now residential, while Wood Lodge, not far from St. Bertram's Bridge is unoccupied and in need of major renovation.
Ilam Park stableyard
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