|OS Route Map →||GPX Route file →|
Date: 01 Nov 2004
Start / Finish: Hartington. Good free parking in the village square.
Maps: Explorer OL24: The White Peak.
|Day 1||Dove and Manifold||20m (32km)|
Fairly long at 20 miles, but an easy circuit of the Dove and Manifold river valleys south of Hartington. The route takes in the limestone scenery of Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale and Dovedale, and returns via Beeston Tor and the Manifold Way. This route avoids the road walk back to Hartington which is sometimes quoted for this circuit by following footpaths to the West.
This was a murky day and not conducive to good photos, and we were too late to see the best of the autumn colours this year.
The footpath leaves the main street between the pottery shop and the public toilets, and from here the route is obvious all the way to the end of Dovedale. Crossing the fields to join the Dove, the wooded and steeply enclosed Beresford Dale is followed by the open aspect of Wolfscote Dale and the first limestone buttresses. There was the usual assortment of birds in evidence - herons, moorhens, grey wagtails and many dippers, and for the first time on the Dove we saw a kingfisher. Milldale marks the start of Dovedale with a succession of caves, buttresses and pinnacles. Beyond Tissington Spires, the stepping stones at the end of the dale were partly submerged and we stayed on the left side to the footbridge by the car park.
Following the road to Ilam, we joined the Manifold at Paradise Walk and reached the lane that leads to Rushley Farm and up the valley flank to Throwley Hall. A footpath sets off NW over the hill and descends to Beeston Tor. The surfaced Manifold Way meanders up the valley to Wetton Mill, where we crossed to the E side and took the footpath NE that climbs up Ecton Hill towards the diminutive Sugar Loaf. Approaching Top of Ecton, we took the footpath to the western edge, that has given grand views on better days, and descends gradually back northwards to the Manifold Way. Beyond Hulme End (Manifold Valley Visitor Centre) near Hayesgate, a footpath leads NE then SE down to Hartington Bridge, and just beyond a final footpath crosses the fields back to Hartington.