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The beautiful country park at Ilam is an ideal starting point for this walk that takes you through some of the Peak District’s finest countryside.


After leaving the picturesque village of Ilam, the Izaak Walton Hotel is soon reached. Reminding us of the famous angler of the same name, who together with Charles Cotton wrote the best selling book The Compleat Angler, and loved Dovedale so much.


Dovedale is one of the most treasured beauty spots not only in the Peak District but also in the country. Photographs of the stepping-stones across the Dove must have appeared on more calendars and gift boxes of all shapes and sizes than any other countryside scene in England.


Lin Dale takes you round Thorpe Cloud, a cone shaped hill rising to nearly 1,000 feet, to the quiet limestone village of Thorpe. The church dates back to Norman times, or even earlier.


After passing the church, the road soon turns into a rough track leading down to Coldwall Bridge. At one time it was a turnpike road to Cheadle. It was abandoned in 1910 as cars of that era found difficulty in negotiating the steep road.


The final part of the walk takes you along the riverbank back to Ilam.






Length:     5 miles.


Start/Finish:     Ilam Hall Car Park.


Location:     Off A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road.


Terrain:     Some steady ascents and descents. Can be wet and muddy by the river.






1.     Leave the car park and head for the main road through the village and at the cross by the bridge turn left for Dovedale.

2.     Just beyond the last cottage in the village, go through a small gate on the left, opposite to a car parking area.

3.     Bear to the right to follow a cart track to a stile by a gate, continue aiming across the field to the left of some farm buildings to a gate stile.

4.     Carry straight on to the left of the Izaak Walton Hotel, going over two stiles in quick succession before dropping down to the left to reach Dovedale car park.

5.     Turn left and either take the footbridge across the river and continue to the left along the riverside, or walk up the road to cross the river by the stepping-stones – after heavy rain the first is the best option.

6.     A few yards beyond the stepping-stones turn right towards a gateway leading into Lin Dale.

7.     Follow the track round until near the top of the dale the wall bends sharply to the right.

8.     Here you bear slightly to the right across open land to reach a grass track running from an old quarry down to the road by a small car park and toilet block.

9.     Cross the road and walk straight ahead along a winding road through Thorpe and on the edge of the village go through a gate across the road.

10.    Continue along a surfaced track as it bends to the right and drops down to Coldwall Bridge.

11.    Cross the bridge to a stile by a gate opposite, turn right and follow the hedge round to go through a gate.

12.    Continue aiming about 35 yards to the left of a thorn thicket to pick up a signed footpath indicator and follow the signs back to Ilam. On reaching the road through the village, turn right over the bridge and then left back to the starting point.

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Tissington Hall (Tel. 01335 352200) a fine Jacobean Manor House in the heart of the village, owned by the FitzHerbert family who built most of the cottages in Tissington. For further information see the special feature

Tissington Trail following the closure of the railway line, the track was converted into a trail and ever since has been popular with walkers and cyclists. The trail links up with the High Peak Trail. You can now either walk or cycle through some of the White Peak’s finest scenery without ever seeing a car!

Ilam Park the 158 acres of the park is managed by the National Trust. It lies on the banks of the River Manifold and includes a walk along an avenue of Lime Trees known as Paradise Walk. There is a National Trust shop, information centre and tearoom and entrance to the grounds is free to walkers.


Izaak Walton Hotel (Tel. 01335 350555) lovely views and the spacious lawned garden are popular attractions for walkers who are very welcome at this magnificently sited hotel. Some of the bedrooms used to be named after members of the Royal family who have stayed here in the past. Bar meals available lunchtime and evening every day. Restaurant and accommodation.

 Ilam Hall Tea Rooms (Tel. 01335 350245) provide excellent views of the Italian Gardens and beyond whether sitting inside, or in the garden. A good selection of hot meals and snacks are available. Open at weekends and normally every day during the summer. Please ring for details .



Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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Alpine-style cottages, a Tudor Gothic Hall, an eccentric river and a wonderful background of soft green hills make Ilam a very popular place with visitors. Many of whom come to walk in Ilam Hall’s beautiful parkland, along the aptly named Paradise Walk by the River Manifold.

The former estate village was mostly demolished and replaced by alpine style cottages, which provided a marked contrast alongside some of the older more traditional buildings.


 Ilam Feature






Ilam Park Visitor Centre

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