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Dovedale, Derbyshire, Midlands
Dovedale, Derbyshire | © National Trust Images/John Miller
The Peak District & Derbyshire

Ilam Park to Dovedale Stepping Stones trail

This walking trail from Ilam Park to the famous stepping stones at Dovedale covers many of the landmarks and scenic highlights of the White Peak area including Thorpe Cloud, 1,000-year-old Saxon crosses and varied wildlife.

Plan ahead to avoid busy times

Popular spots like Ilam Park, Manifold Valley and Dovedale get extremely busy with car parks filling up by 9am on weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Planning ahead and checking our social media channels for updates is advised.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

Ilam Park, grid ref: SK132507

Step 1

Start at Ilam Park and walk away from the hall and towards the surfaced footpath by Ilam church.

Step 2

Follow the surfaced path past the Church into Ilam village. Here you'll find alpine-style houses and a school, provided for locals by Jesse Watts-Russell. Walk along the pavement until you reach the Mary Watts-Russell Memorial Cross. Head over the road before the stone bridge and walk past the postbox on your right.

Step 3

On leaving Ilam village, after the last house, cross the road and go through a small wooden gate. There are steps up to the footpath. Turn right onto the stone track and continue along the base of Bunster Hill, grazed by sheep and lambs.

Step 4

At the first gate on the path there are two route options for you to choose from. You can continue through the gate and across the fields towards Thorpe Cloud, which will include further gates, and passes through fields of cows and sheep. Alternatively, turn left before the gate and walk beside the drystone wall. This route avoids cows but will take 10 minutes longer. This is the recommended route for walkers with dogs.

A view of Thorpe Cloud from Bunster Hill in Dovedale, Peak District. Thorpe Cloud is an isolated limestone hill (a reef knoll) lying between the villages of Thorpe and Ilam on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border at the southern end of Dovedale.
A view of Thorpe Cloud from Bunster Hill in Dovedale, Peak District, Derbyshire | © National Trust Images/John Malley

Step 5

The route across the fields passes behind the Izaak Walton Hotel, named after the author of the book The Compleat Angler. He fished the River Dove in the mid 17th century. Bunster Hill is on your left and Thorpe Cloud is ahead of you, with the flat top.

Step 6

The path will go downhill to join the surfaced track by Dovedale car park and the public toilets (20p charge, not National Trust). Turn left and walk along the track into the valley, passing a small wooden bridge on your right. Welcome to Dovedale. The River Dove is on your right, at the base of Thorpe Cloud. The river marks the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire

Stepping Stones at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak, Derbyshire
Stepping Stones at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak | © National Trust Images/Neil Jakeman

Step 7

Congratulations, you have reached the Stepping Stones - take a moment to look around and absorb the scenery.

End point

Dovedale Stepping Stones, grid ref: SK152514

Trail map

Trail map for a popular walk between Ilam and Dovedale, White Peak, Peak District, Derbyshire
Trail map for the Ilam Park to Dovedale Stepping Stones walk | © n/a

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Get in touch

Ilam, Ashbourne, Staffordshire, DE6 2AZ

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