In a Nutshell
Great walks and stunning scenery in the Peak District. You might think you've stumbled into Switzerland! Combine a walk around the village of Ilam with its Alpine style cottages and Ilam Hall, with a riverside walk into the Dovedale Valley. Just don't fall off the stepping stones!
Parking and Pooping
Ilam and Dovedale are a few miles north of Asbourne, straddling the county border of Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Ilam is a tiny village, more so a hamlet made up of a collection of unusual Apline style cottages. You can park on the roadside on Ilam Moor Lane, but there is a large car park behind Ilam Hall for a small fee. Whichever you choose, there is plenty of grass for pup. Toilets are available by the National Trust shop in Ilam Hall.
Dovedale is just a short drive from the village, turning left at the cross to follow the River Manifold and then left again to the dedicated car park (charge on entry). Again, there is plenty of grass for pup and toilets.
From the car park at Ilam Hall, you can walk through the hall grounds (it's a YHA hostel now) and down through the meadow past the church to the tiny village centre. The road through the village is generally quiet and most of your walk will be on the grass verges or through the meadows. There is also a signposted walk starting from the entrance from the car park to the hall, that runs around the car park to the village. The combination of the two makes for a good circular walk.
At Dovedale, simply follow the path by the riverside along the valley floor. After a short while, you'll come to the stepping stones. Cross to continue on the paths up the valley. The stepping stones are quite flat, but be careful if it has been raining. We saw a few dogs fall into the river when trying to cross, so pick up and carry if you can.
Keeping the Humans Amused
The attraction here is the scenery so don't expect shops and gifts. The National Trust has a shop and visitors centre at Ilam Hall but that's your lot!
The Manifold Tea Room run by the National Trust at Ilam Hall gets good reviews and has an extensive terrace with stunning views. Soak up the sun with a cream tea. At Dovedale, there is a small hut serving drinks, ice creams etc.