Start at: Ilam . Grid ref: SK134 509 . Difficulty: Medium . Distance: 17.5km .
From the village walk south to the River Manifold and take the path that runs along the banks of the river heading east. Follow the path as the river meanders to the right until you reach a footbridge. Cross the river using this bridge and continue through the fields, ignoring the bridge on the left and eventually reaching Rushley Farm.
Take the farm track to your left and continue as the path contours to stay level through to Throwley Hall. Continue through the farm here and take the second gate to a stile on the right. Moving slightly right through the next field then aim for the gap between the trees further to the right in the next field. Keeping the main line of trees on the left continue down the hill as the path descends to the river valley below. Meeting the river where the Hamps meets the Manifold cross the river to join the disused Manifold Railway.
The Manifold track leads you to Weag’s Bridge followed by Ladyside with Thor’s Cave high up on the right. Shortly after passing Thor’s Cave a bridge gives access to the other side of the river before a path leads up through the trees then into the fields before emerging at Wetton.
Walk through Wetton, turning right then left and passing the village church before a stile leads you, via a series of stiles, down to the valley bottom and a wide track that brings you to the road. Turn left at Brook Lodge, following the road, and take the third stile on the left for the climb up to Alstonefield. Again walk through the vill;age, turning right down the Milldale Road before a signpost leads you across thew fields on the right to Milldale and into Dovedale.
Take the riverside path which meanders through the valley between Stanshope Pasture and Baley Hill, passing below Raven’s Tot to finally reach the junction of Nabs Dale and Hall Dale with Dovedale. With the landmark of Ilam Rock on your right a path continues downstream towards it, crossing the river at a footbridge. From Ilam Rock the path leads to Pickering Tor.
Pass Lion’s Head Rock and continue downstream over a double stile and into The Narrows, where you meet a wooden boardwalk with Reynard’s Cave obvious up to the left. Pass the old pumping station opposite Dovedale Church and continue downstream between Tissington Spires and Jacob’s Ladder, with a double stile leading to the foot of Lovers’ Leap.
The path now goes over Sharplow Rise, with Dovedale Castle opposite, then bears right past the entrance to Lin Dale to finally emerge at the road by St Mary’s Bridge. A short walk up the road leads back into the centre of Ilam and your starting point.