A walk from Alstonefield, Staffordshire to the beautiful village of Milldale and along Dovedale in Derbyshire so two counties on one walk!
This beautiful route winds alongside the River Dove through the cute village of Milldale and to the start of Dovedale, taking in some spectacular highlights from huge caves to limestone rock formations through the valley.
From Alstonefield you head across fields then down a steep path to a small footbridge over the River Dove. Then continue walking next to the river as it winds through the valley of Mill Dale to Milldale village. It’s over another stone bridge into Dovedale and along to Ilam Rock before crossing the river one more time.
From here you follow the footpath, turning off to walk through Hall Dale. Then it’s through a couple of fields until you’re walking back along a track then another uphill to reach Alstonefield village.
Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk, parking options, route information, map, GPX file, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.
Have you done any of the other Derbyshire Dales walks? Let me know in the comments
Dovedale walk from Alstonefield
Alstonefield walk mapClick for online map
Walk start point
Start grid reference: SK 13066 55641
Car parking address: Alstonefield car park, Lode Lane, Alstonefield, Ashbourne, DE6 2FY (Google pin)
This is a small car park with toilets. However, if that is full there is a second car park. There are ‘P’ signs on the drive into Alstonefield, it is called the Playing Fields car park (Google pin). These are both free car parks but the playing fields one has a place you can make a donation for the upkeep.
There are no public transport options to get to the start of this Alstonefield walk.
Facilities on the walk
There are public toilets available at the car park at the start of the walk. If you’ve parked at the second larger car park there aren’t any but the toilets are on route.
At Milldale, there are more public toilets and there’s a small takeaway tearoom open (Easter to October), called Polly’s Cottage. In Alstonefield there’s a pub but at the moment it’s food pre-bookings only so no after walk drink.
Other useful information
This is a relatively easy walk, with the exception of a steep downhill to the River Dove at the start of the walk, there are rough wooden logs as steps but in wet weather, it can be slippy so watch your footing.
The uphill from Milldale to Alstonefield can also be steep and it’s a grassy climb so not technical, but again can be slippy when wet! There is also a small section of the path that’s overgrown and if you’re wearing shorts (like me) then you might get a few stings!
Take some money – there’s a small honesty box at one of the farms so treat yourself to eggs or jams – I bought some eggs and they were amazing!
Check the weather for your walk location and hills
- BBC Weather for Alstonefield
- Met Office weather for the Peak District
- Met Office weather for Hartington (nearest village)
Ordnance Survey Walk Map
The map required for this walk is OL24 – Peak District (White Peak Area). Check prices here with Ordnance Survey or Amazon. If you’re hiking in all weathers the Active OS maps are pretty good to have.
And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition compass
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Alstonefield walk route
Stage 1 – Alstonefield to River Dove
Distance: 1.4 miles/2 km
Grid reference SK 13066 55655
From the Alstonefield car park (one with the toilets), turn left up the road, cross over and turn right at the fingerpost sign over the drystone wall. Once over, then go over a set of stone steps into the next field and walk diagonally to the top corner near the farm.
Go through the metal gate which leads you out onto a wider track. Follow the track until it begins to bear left, at this point, head across the field to a broken gate about halfway down the boundary wall. Follow the yellow arrow pointing left towards the next wall at the end of the field.
There’s a wooden gate that brings you out onto the track. Follow this past a farm building, then through another two gates close together. At the second gate, follow the public footpath signpost pointing left across the field to the next boundary wall and another small gate and signpost. Go through the gate, bearing slightly right to the wall and another gate, which has a public footpath signpost pointing towards the trees.
You reach another gate with stone steps and a national trust sign for ‘Gipsy Bank’. Follow the footpath as it begins to descend gradually and then steeper down to a bridge (or stepping stones) across the River Dove.
Note – the stepping stones can be slippy when wet. There are also some pointy stones that aren’t easy to balance on. Use the bridge if in doubt!
Stage 2 – River Dove to Milldale
Distance: 2.2 mile/3.5 km
Grid reference SK 14362 56847
Once across the bridge or stepping stones turn right and follow the footpath alongside the River Dove. The path winds following the river so you can’t go wrong if you keep it on your right.
Go through a gate on the path, next to the limestone cliffs along the route. Then you’ll see a stone building not long after with a few signposts and continue in the direction of the public footpath sign to Milldale (1.5 miles).
Then continue through two small stone gaps where the path then narrows through some woodlands. Continue through another two stone gaps and past some houses on your left. Walk to the bridge and go up the stone steps that bring you out on the road.
Cross the bridge over the road and take the first road on your left (signposted to Milldale). Walk on the pavement until you reach the village of Milldale.
Stage 3 – Milldale to Ilam Rock
Distance: 1.2 miles/1.9 km
Grid reference SK 13922 54711
Cross the stone bridge, you’ll see a national trust sign for Dovedale. Continue walking along the footpath, through two sets of gates next to the River Dove.
The dale of Dovedale begins to open out with dramatic limestone cliffs along the route. You’ll go through two more sets of gates and shortly after you’ll reach some caves called the Dove Holes. You can go exploring in the caves but the limestone rocks can be slippy when wet.
Continue along the path next to the river and through another gate. You reach a small wooden bridge, next to Ilam Rock. Follow the signpost to Stanshop and go across the bridge.
Stage 4 – Illam Rock to Alstonefield
Distance: 2.2 mile/3.5 km
Grid reference SK 14186 53127
Turn right down the opposite side of the river until a gap in a drystone wall. Then turn left following the signpost to Stanshope towards Hall Dale. The footpath gradually goes uphill and over a wooden stile then the terrain flattens out into Hall Dale.
Keep on the footpath next to the drystone wall, through a wooden gate and continue to the end of the dale and through a gap in the wall with a gate. Continue on the path then over a set of stone steps over a wall. Through a second gap in the wall with a fingerpost sign with a small yellow arrow on.
Keep to the left of the field next to the wall, you’ll reach another gate and stone steps. Walk towards the boundary wall, through a gate and left onto a track. At the road turn right and head down the track past a farm all the way to another road.
Cross the road, go through a gap in the wall slightly on the left, signposted public footpath. Follow the steep muddy track as it winds to the top – (there’s a less steep option which you’ll see signs for, it doesn’t make a big difference but might help if you’re struggling.)
At the top, go through the gate ‘Harry’s Bank’, then a second one that goes across a field and onto a track with a signpost for Alstonefield. Walk down the track, past the farm with a few treats for sale (eggs and jams).
Follow the track to the road, turn right (or left if you parked at the other car park). As the road splits, first take the right-hand fork, then when it splits again take the left-hand fork. Then turn left and you’re back at the car park.
Any more questions then ask in the comments?
More walks in the Peak District
Love the walks in the Derbyshire Dales? You might like these Peak District circular walks.
- Monk’s Dale Walk | 4.5-Mile Route
- Chee Dale (Stepping Stones Walk) | 5-Mile Route
- Wolfscote Dale + Biggin Dale Walk | 5-Mile Route
Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here
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