Central England: Hartington, Derbyshire
Distance: 9km/5.5 miles
Type: Riverside and country
Where: Circular walk through limestone dales and along the side of the River Dove.
Start/End: Hartington (SK127605).
Terrain: Paths, lanes and bridleways. Gradients are gentle and there are a few stiles (one very narrow in Beresford Dale) and gates.
Maps: OS Explorer OL24; Landranger 119
The struggle between the mountains of England’s north and the Midland lowlands reaches a climax in the Derbyshire Dales. Here, the Pennines decline as an extraordinary landscape of canyons, vales and rippling plateaus dotted with exquisite villages. The limestone of the White Peak is etched by tendrils of water, creating a maze of sharp valleys and winding defiles that culminate in the spectacular chasms of rivers, such as the Manifold, Lathkill, Wye and – most famously – Dove. This walk explores the middle reaches of the Dove’s fabulous gorge and its tributaries. Starting at Hartington’s village green, peaceful byways lead to Biggin Dale (a National Nature Reserve), before turning into Wolfscote Dale, a delectable riverside walk culminating in wooded Beresford Dale, where Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton wrote and fished. All these dales are awash with wildflowers, butterflies and myriad wild birds.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map