Explore Dove Dale and its surrounding countryside with a three-hour walk, starting at the pretty village of Ilam.

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Ilam and Dove Dale walk

5 miles/8.2km | 3 hours | moderate

1. Start

The Church of the Holy Cross has a curious crown-shaped annex. Inside, find Bertram'™s shrine: King of Mercia turned hermit, who dedicated his life to God after his Irish princess and baby were mauled to death by wolves.

Church of the Holy Cross near Ilam, Staffordshire, UK
Church of the Holy Cross near Ilam, Staffordshire/Credit: Getty

2. Meadow walk

Continue through meadows to Dove Dale, crossing stepping stones where Thorpe Cloud hill drops like a plumb-line to the river.

3. Stepping stones

Cross the stepping stones where Thorpe Cloud hill drops like a plumb-line to the river. Dippers bob on the shallows and great pinnacles of rock rise from the valley. A boardwalk squeezes through the gorge.

4. Up and over

Crossing a bridge, climb out of the steep-sided dale, returning along the valley top before tumbling down through fields to Ilam.

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Ilam and Dove Dale map

Ilam and Dove Dale walking route and map

Ilam and Dove Dale map

Authors

Helen Moat
Helen MoatTravel and nature writer

Helen is the author of Slow Travel The Peak District, Bradt and A Time of Birds, Saraband, a memoir and travelogue describing her journey across Europe to Istanbul on her sit-up-and-beg bike.

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