The walk follows the Tissington Trail to the ancient village of Thorpe and returns along the beautiful Dove Valley to the brick built village of Mapleton.
The tiny limestone village of Thorpe is less than a mile from the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones, but still manages to maintain an air of peace and quiet even in the middle of the summer. The church has a Norman tower, but probably dates back further, in this ancient village, that was once a Danish settlement.
As the road leaves Thorpe, it degenerates into a rough track as it winds down to the 18th century Coldwall Bridge. There is a milestone by the bridge indicating ‘Cheadle 11 miles’, that dates back to the days when this was a coach-road between Ashbourne and Cheadle. The road though was considered too steep and was eventually deserted.
From this point, the walk takes you through water meadows and along the banks of the River Dove to Mapleton.
After leaving Mapleton, the route follows a path up the hillside to the east of the village before dropping down again to re-join the Tissington Trail.
Length: 5 miles.
Start/finish: Tissington Trail Car Park.
Location: To the west of Ashbourne, off the B5035, on the road leading to Mapleton village.
Terrain: Mainly easy walking along the Tissington Trail and by the River Dove. Gentle ascents and descents at Thorpe.
1. From the car park walk up the Tissington Trail for about two miles before turning left by a finger post sign, ‘Thorpe and Dovedale’, opposite a similar sign for ‘Fenny Bentley’.
2. Walk straight up the field and go through a gate stile, then cross a narrow field to a stile leading onto a road, the Dog and Partridge public house can be seen further up the road.
3. Go over the road, walk down the narrow country lane opposite, and follow it as it winds round towards Thorpe.
4. At the bottom of a dip, take the footpath sign on the left. Follow a clear path over a small wooden bridge and up the other side of the hill, turning right just before the church.
5. Keep the church on your left, and on reaching the road turn left in front of the church. Continue through the village, going through a gateway at the far end.
6. The road bends to the right before descending to Coldwall Bridge. Do not cross the bridge, turn down the rough track on the left.
7. Go through a squeezer stile and cross a field keeping to the right of Dove Cottage 1867, entering another field by an unusual gate stile ‘lift, do not pull’.
8. Stay by the fence on the left until reaching a stile at the far end of the field.
9. Continue along a clear route close to the banks of the River Dove, all the way to the road into Mapleton, where you turn left along the road and then right at the ‘T’ junction.
10. Just after passing the Okeover Arms, take the footpath sign on your left down a narrow passageway between houses and on reaching a field turn right at an angle of 45 degrees.
11. Cross the field before going over two stiles in quick succession, and then follow the hedge on the left up the next field to go through a gap in the corner at the top.
12. Remain by the hedge on the left to go over a stile into another field. Here you follow an obvious path straight across a short field to a stile.
13. Continue along a fenced path to a stile in the top corner. Cross the stile and maintain the same direction, before in the next field descending to a stile in the bottom right hand corner.
14. Continue down another short field to reach the Tissington Trail where you turn right back to the starting point.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Alton Towers (Tel 08705 204060) the leading Theme Park in the United Kingdom where you can experience a host of ‘white knuckle rides’, or content yourself with more peaceful pursuits, visiting the shows on site and the gentler rides. For full opening details please ring or visit website.
Ilam Village with its alpine style cottages and close proximity to Dovedale makes it a very popular attraction. The National Trust grounds and country park of Ilam Hall are open to the public.
Ashbourne is one of Derbyshire’s finest towns, with a wealth of Georgian architecture. The triangular cobbled Market Place holds markets twice per week on Thursday and Saturday.
Okeover Arms (Tel 01335 350305) At one time, this attractive Grade One listed building dating from about 1700 was a Temperance Hotel. Following a period of closure, the pub re-opened prior to Christmas 2003. Food available lunchtime and evenings except on Mondays. Beer Garden. Accommodation.
The Gingerbread Shop Tea Rooms (Tel 01335 346753) It is said that in Napoleonic times, when French prisoners were held at Ashbourne, the recipe for gingerbread was given to an Ashbourne baker and has been used ever since. A unique example of a late 15th century timber built building which has been in continuous use as a bakery since 1805. Open Monday to Saturday 8.30-5pm.
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The tiny village of Mapleton, one and three quarters of a mile from Ashbourne, stands on the Derbyshire side of the River Dove that divides it from neighbouring Staffordshire. It is a village of attractive red brick cottages, somewhat unusual in the Peak District where stone normally dominates.
The village borders the Peak District and acts as a gateway to the Dove Valley. The houses stretch out in a line along the road through the village mostly looking over the river in the direction of Okeover Hall, a private residence not open to the public.
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