“Aaah! He’s going to go in.” We watched in fascinated horror as the next foolhardy person tried to negotiate the Dovedale steps. We’d managed two steps and gingerly turned back as today, despite wearing thick soled walking boots, the great stones strung across the River Dove were slippery as giant ice cubes.
Luckily the man we were watching regained his balance and made it. It was a fun end to a hilly, winters' day walk, which had started at Ilam Hall across Lin Dale to the River Dove, frost glittering in the hollows, sunlight bouncing off the pyramid-shaped, Thorpe Cloud hill as we made our way down the limestone gorge where a walk along the riverside leads to the steps. A circular route back led us over fields, past the Izak Walton Hotel, named for the author of ’The Compleat Angler’ back to Ilam Hall and its welcoming tearoom.
Ilam Hall, Ilam, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2AZ
+44(0)845 371 9023
Ilam Hall is a youth hostel, but you can walk over the grounds with parking, toilets, tearoom and visitor centre next door.
Google map: bit.ly/S8ID9Z
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