This lovely family walk begins in Ilam. We stayed at Ilam Hall with the YHA and were able to park at Ilam Park for free as we are NT members. You can park closer to Dovedale (and miss out on the walk but charges apply and it gets very busy).
We followed the 2.5km route from Ilam to Dovedale that is detailed in the map guide available from the National Trust, taking us alongside Ilam Church before leaving the centre of the village and River Manifold below is to climb Dunster Hill.
The route looked daunting as the children could see the peak of Thorpe Cloud ahead of us, but the path is clear and easy for most legs (wheels would be impossible though).
We visited on a sunny spring day and loved walking through fields of sheep and spotting the lambs with their mothers and watching them play!
As we approached Dovedale itself, we could see the snaking line of cars queuing for the car park, and we’re very glad to have walked. We also relapsed we were effectively doing the Peak District version of the well known Devon tourist activity ‘visiting Haytor on a sunny day’!
Despite the numbers of people heading in the same direction, we still managed to enjoy the lovely river side and find our own little quiet spot for a picnic lunch.
We even managed a few turns on the famous stepping stones and a paddle before we had to retrace our steps and reluctantly end our time in the Peaks.
We did all feel drawn to the path leading to the summit of Thorpe Cloud though, and have resolved to make that a family challenge in the future!