While Dove Dale is very well known the upper reaches of the Dove Valley are less often visited. This walk takes us up the Dove from Hartington, following the river as it runs through a flat flood plain between steep-sided grassy banks. On the second half of the walk we pass by the remains of Pilsbury Castle, whose earthworks still stand above the river.
Length: 7 miles
Map: Explorer 024 White Peak
Last Walked: September 2009
We start from the village square in the centre of Hartington, where there is some road-side parking. There is also a car park on the road that leads south out of the village.
1: SK 127 604
We leave the village green along Stonewell Lane (to find the lane stand on the small patch of grass in the centre of the square, face towards the pond, then turn towards the left - the lane runs off to the west, towards a factory). Follow this lane almost to the edge of the factory site, then turn right onto a signposted footpath that crosses a long narrow field. At the end of this field the path emerges into a series of larger more open fields, crossing diagonally across them to reach a bridge over the Dove. Cross this bridge, and contine straight across the next field, which brings us to the bottom of a steep bank.
2: SK 120 609
Turn right onto a track that climbs diagonally up the side of this bank. We then follow this path along the top of the bank as it curves gently around to the left. After a couple of fields the bank turns to the right. At this point our path leaves the bank top, and crosses into the field straight head. This field contains quite a steep slope that climbs up to the skyline directly ahead, but we don't need to climb all of this - instead aim for a point to the right of the highest point on the skyline (continuing on in roughly the same direction as the last part of the bank-top. At the far side of the field cross over another stone wall, and follow the path as it runs along the left-hand side of a series of fields to bring us to a minor road.
3: SK 116 622
At the road continue on in the same direction, heading north with the Dove valley down to the right.
4: SK 107 634
We follow this road for about a mile, passing two side roads that branch off to the left. Just after the second of these roads turn right onto a track that cuts diagonally down the hillside. After about 400ft this track curves sharply around to the right to head for a farm. At this point we leave the track to follow a signposted footpath that continues on across the hillside. This path then brings us to another track, which we follow on in the same direction. This track also turns sharply away to the right to head towards a farm - this time turn right and follow the track down into the valley bottom.
Just before we reach the farm a signposted footpath leaves to the right. Turn onto this path and follow it as it runs around the right-hand side of the farm and down to the Dove. Cross the river on a line of stepping stones, then head diagonally and to the right across this next field to reach a path that runs down the valley.
5: SK 106 645
Turn right onto this path, and follow it as it runs down the valley, with the Dove to the right. This path passes just to the left of the earthwork remains of Pilsbury Castle, then climbs up the bank to the left. The path then runs along the top of the rough ground on the bank, before crossing a field to reach a minor road. Cross the minor road and continue on across the next large field.
6: SK 124 634
At the far end of this field turn right and follow the path to the far-right corner of the next field. The path then passes across the left-hand side of a large irregular field, before passing through a series of more regular fields, with the Dove valley down to the right. Eventually this path reaches a private track that runs across the slope. Turn left onto this track and follow it up the slope - towards the top the footpath continues on, crossing three more fields before reaching a minor road.
7: SK 130 612
Turn right onto this road and follow all the way back into Hartington.