Dovedale is a beautiful area on the southern part of the Peak District. It is a valley with the river Dove running through it for about 3 miles, from Milldale to Thorpe Cloud. We have been visiting this area for many years, ever since we were children and have very fond memories of this place. Memories of people no longer with us too, but we have good memories from the old days to treasure for always.
As we have grown up, we have taken our children to Dovedale to introduce them to the beautiful area and a bit of our childhood and hope it makes good memories for them too. We used to travel many places on day trips, leaving early mornings, picnic by the roadside half way to wherever we were going, many people did in those days.
My Gran would sit in her deck chair drinking her cup of tea, while we ate our breakfast and enjoyed being out of the car for a little while. Then everything would be packed up back into the boot and off we went again on our journey. We saw so many places on our trips and they often included a hike up to some lake or mushroom picking in the woods with my uncle and grandfather. Miss those old days, we did have some good times.
I loved introducing my family to some of what I experienced as a child, I am not much of an indoor person and love being out walking. Unfortunately with the health of my daughter being as it is,we don't get out as a family any more so this was one of the last times we did before she got too ill for this sort of thing.
These days when we want to go out, the family has to be split as someone has to stay at home with our daughter. It's upsetting to have to split the family in this way but there is no way around it and you do what you have to do.
I love Dovedale and all the area around it. It is up to you how far or high you walk. You can walk in the valley and cross the river over the same stepping stones I crossed as a child. You can follow the river into the wooded area to see the large limestone rocks and caves or climb to top and follow the ridge around. Both ways give you amazing views and a lovely walk. The last time we went, there were some rock climbers on the Ilam rock which is about 25 metres high, I must say they are braver than me!
Just to give you an idea of what they were climbing, here is the rock and at the proper angle!
This photo is from the bottom of the Valley, just around the bend of the river you will come to the stepping stones.
One of our boys made everyone wait to cross the stones until it was clear so that he could run across them!
I guess everyone is having ago!
The ridge above the Dovedale Stepping stones.
I do remember when we were children walking up through this water, feeling the little pebbles between our toes but also having cows walking in the water with us. I think it's just sheep that are farmed in this area these days, but I might be wrong. I sit here smiling, thinking about the old days and the fun we had here, we did have some good times. 'Oh the old days' as people say :) when children played in the rivers and streams, something they do still do in Dovedale.
Going back to this area and taking my own family here, was very special to me and I was so pleased that they loved it and found the area as beautiful as I did.
Some of the steps to climb further down the river, there is a place to rest at the top, it's called 'Lovers leap' and is 120 ft above the river. It is said a maiden jumped from here when she was jilted by her lover, but it is also said that she landed in thick bushes so walked away.
Maybe someone can help me with this one, Here and there along the river you will tree logs with money stuck in them. Can anyone tell me why this is?
Dovedale is well known for it's limestone formations, you just look up and you can see them everywhere.
The next photo is the view from Thorpe Cloud
Thorpe Cloud is in the Southern part of Dovedale before the stepping stones, there is a car park here too but be warned, it is not on flat ground and some areas of the hill are a little steep, as we found out the last time we went when my husband nearly burnt my clutch out, trying to reverse out of our parking spot! There was lots of smoke, everyone jumping out of the car, panic over, then hubbie managing to reverse it up the hill with less bodies in the car! I do remember pulling up here and saying 'I hope they don't make me park there' and where did the parking person tell me to park? Yes right where I didn't want too! Why do you think I asked my husband to drive on the way back? :) Next time we will stick to the National Trust car park further down the river!
Saying all this, the view as you come around Thorpe from the car park is beautiful.
A little history for you now, Thorpe Cloud got it's name from the Vikings who settled here around 800AD, Thorpe being a Scandinavian name and Cloud got it's name from the old English word 'clud' meaning hill. I like to think it got it's name from feeling your in the clouds up there.
Our son and my daughter on Thorpe Cloud
Some other areas of Dovedale
It's a long way down so be careful up the top if you have young children with you.