River Dove

Walk 20: Deep in Dovedale

A walk that immerses you in the beautiful sights and sounds of the river, woods and open hills of Dovedale and the surrounding areas.

From the free car park, you head down to the River Dove, passing stunning limestone rocks, before climbing back out through woods, reaching Bunster Hill. You eventually drop down to the entrance of Dovedale and skirt around Thorpe Cloud on the home straight back to the car park.

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  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum Duration: 3.5 hrs
  • Refreshments: Pub
  • Route: Download .gpx file
  • Start Grid Ref: SK 16370 50483


Free parking is available at Narlow Lane Car Park, Narlow Lane, DE6 2AT.


Derbyshire, UK

Route Map


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Safety First

Please do not rely on this walking guide to solely navigate the hike. Always take a paper map and compass with you and make sure you know how to use them. Hiking is generally safe, but there are always potential risks. Use common sense, plan your route beforehand and make a reasonable judgment at all times.


  1. From Narlows Lane car park turn right and head towards the Old Dog pub.
  2. When opposite the pub, turn immediately right, and gently ascend up Spend Lane.
  3. Continue along Spend Lane for just under a mile, passing through 2 farm gates. Spend Lane becomes Gag Lane part way along on the track. Continue until reaching a gate in the wall on the left.
  4. Head through the gate and follow the track/path along the open fields. The track/path initially dips and then climbs again.
  5. Continue through a farm gate and pass to the right of the farm which sits at the top of the valley.
  6. Head over the stile and follow the path as it descends down to another stile opposite.
  7. Cross the stile, turn left and continue for about 100 meters.
  8. Turn right and head down the steep descent to the valley floor, meeting Lovers Leap (a large rocky platform) and the beautiful River Dove.
  9. At Lovers Leap, turn right following the river upstream for about 1 mile.
  10. At Ilam Rock (an impressive large column of Limestone), cross the bridge to your left, turn right and continue for about 150 meters.
  11. Next, take the forest path on the left and climb steeply out of the valley. The track twists and turns, with some steps on the route.
  12. Upon reaching the top, the path continues left following the flow of the river. Continue through the wood for around 500 meters.
  13. Upon leaving the woods, continue along the field heading just left of the farm in the distance.  
  14. Follow the path as it passes the farmhouse to the right. Just after the house, the path turns right and joins the track which leads to the house (look out for the gate with no fences!). Turn left along the track and continue for about 200 meters.
  15. Upon meeting another track, turn left (row of trees to your right) and continue until meeting the top of Bunster Hill. Turn right and descend down, following the path all the way to the edge of Ilam
  16. Once you see the road, stick to the path which turns left and takes you parallel to the road/River Manifold before veering left and taking you through several fields towards Thorpe Cloud.
  17. Upon reaching Dovedale car park, walk past the toilets and turn left to join the River Dove path.
  18. Follow the path then cross the bridge to your right and continue straight ahead, with Thorpe Cloud to your left, ascending up the outskirts of the hillside.
  19. After passing a brick farm building to your right, follow the path until reaching a gate in the wall.
  20. Head through the gate and walk diagonally right across the fields to the village of Thorpe.
  21. Pass through a gate and small car park and turn left, passing a bus stop to your left.
  22. Follow the main road through Thorpe, passing Peveril of the Peak and ascending uphill back to the Old Dog pub. Time for a well-earned pint or cuppa!
  • Path to Dovedale
  • Dovedale
  • Dovedale
  • River Dove
  • River Dove
  • Dovedale
  • Dovedale
  • Cave
  • Raynards Cave
  • River Dove Pinnacle
  • Above dove valley

Questions or comment about this route? Leave them in the comments section below.

Leigh Walker

View posts by Leigh Walker
Hi I'm Leigh, the creator Walk In Derbyshire. I've been walking in the Peak District National Park for over 30 years and have a huge passion for connecting with nature and hiking in the outdoors. I write up the all the walks for Walk In Derbyshire and am also the lead on our group hikes.

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