Steady walk through Ilam to Milldale and back down through Dovedale.
|Moderate (height of 300M, 985ft).|
|Walking on paths and rough tracks.||4.5 - 5 hours (including breaks).|
|Starting/ End Positions||Distance|
|Round walk from Dovedale (SK 145508).||8 miles (12.8 Kilometres).|
Map Guide: OS Landranger 119 or Outdoor Leisure 24.
Start from Dovedale car park (GR148507). Walk towards the entrance, cross over the road and climb over the double stile ahead (GR147509). Keeping the hotel on your left, climb two more stiles and cross the next field. Go through to the next field and over another stile. Once over keep to the left as the path drops to a road. Turn right here. This road Heads into Ilam village itself.
Head for the Cross ahead and turn right up a path signposted 'Church'. Walk to the right of the church towards Ilam hall. Walk through the garden and towards the gate to the left hand side. Follow this path down to through the trees and bushes and you will reach the river (GR130504). Turn right and follow the path over wooden and metal stiles ahead.
The path continuing along the side of the river, makes you climb over three more stiles before coming to River Lodge (GR128517). Go through here to the road opposite. Turn left here for a few yards before crossing the road and heading up a narrow road on the right, up through tress ahead.
This road leads steadily up to Castern Hall (GR123524). Follow the path left around the hall until you see a public footpath signpost. Follow this up towards a farm, turn left over a gate and look for a small gap in the wall to your left with a signpost up on the mound. Go through this and turn right to a stile and a track. Cross over this and through the gate ahead into the field with the signpost.
Cross the grassy field to the wall ahead, and climb the stone stile to the other side. Turn left keeping the wall on your left head through fields, crossing five more stiles along the way. Finally cross a field and a stone stile, across another field to yet another stile and signpost and road (GR127537). Turn left down Ilam moor lane to Stanshope (GR127542).
Cross over the road and take a path on the right down a grassy track, following the footpath sign. Stay on the path and go through the gap in the wall at a footpath sign (GR132543). Follow the wall down to a gate. Go through and keep the wall on your right, climbing two more stiles. Walk down the steep valley to the road at Milldale. Turn right and head down to Viator's Bridge (GR139547).
Cross the bridge, turn right through a gate and follow the path along side the river. Follow this path for over 2 miles until you come to the steep incline to Lovers Leap (GR145517). Its not too far to the end of the walk now, but a short break while you are at the top is a must.
Follow the path downwards to the river once again, and you will come to the stepping stones (GR151513) over the river. Cross here if you wish or follow the path around and cross the footbridge. Once over to the other side follow the track back to the car park ahead.
Walk first completed: April 1999
Walk last updated: November 2001