The limestone dales found in Derbyshire and the
Peak District are usually cut by crystal clear rivers and often flanked by precipitous cliffs or pinnacles. Some like Dovedale and Lathkill are extremely popular and busy, especially on fine weekends. This is hardly surprising as they are both beautiful and very accessible. Queues form at the stepping stones near the southern end of Dovedale at peak times. Others are not so well known and others, perhaps not so accessible. Many of them are now 'dry', without rippling trout streams, but nevertheless still a delight to explore.
Dovedale in Derbyshire and the Peak District, is owned by the National Trust and is farmed with many sheep on the rocky slopes and in the woods. It is little more than 3 miles distance between Thorpe and Milldale in the north and the famous part is the wooded ravine between the stepping stones,a short distance from the car park at the front of Thorpe Cloud and the cave like dove-holes. Dovedale`s stepping stones appear on thousands of post cards and the area attracts a million visitors a year. Keep away on sunny weekend afternoons. Read more Dovedale
Beresford Dale is a beautiful part of the Dove valley. It is narrow and leafy, a charming miniture of the Derbyshire 'gem' Dovedale.
As one approaches Beresford Dale from the Hartington end, a scene of indescribeable beauty enfolds as one is led beside the glistering waters which break over little weirs. It is well wooded and wildflowers grow in profusion down to the waters edge. The air is full of bird song. Beresford Dale is associated with Izzak Walton and his friend, though 40 years his junior, Charles Cotton, and the 17th century classic 'The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man's Recreation'. Read more Beresford Dale
Bradford Dale is quite short and like other Derbyshire dales has picturesque stretches of crystal clear water over hung by trees. The River Bradford runs from Middleton by Yougrave to Alport where it meets the river Lathkill.
A tract from Middleton leads to the upper reaches of Bradford Dale through woodland and past the moss covered remains of a mill and an old pumping station where at first there is little sign of a river. The path, sign posted the Limestone Way, leads past Fulwood Rocks, an historic landmark, where during the Civil War Christopher Fulwood, who had been trying to muster the men of Tideswell to the Stuart cause, attempted to hide in a cave but was discovered by the Roundheads and mortally wounded. Read more Bradford Dale
Chee Dale is a splendid winding gorge, flanked by limestone cliffs sometimes towering 300ft above the path, sometimes overhanging it. You get the feeling that they are leaning on you and pushing you off the path, and indeed at times they do, with the path being forced out onto stepping stones. If the river Wye is in flood the path can be impassable. The feeling is of dampness with the water dripping down from the mossy walls. Read more Chee Dale
The river Lathkill must be one of Derbyshires smallest rivers, but its interest and beauty easily make it one of the most impressive. Much of the valley is part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve. Read more Lathkill Dale
Miller's Dale is a lovely limestone dale, along the section of the River Wye from Chee Dale, to Water cum Jolly Dale. It has a village bearing the same name, old quarry works, several mills and an abundance of flora. A long distance footpath, the Monsal Trail runs the length of the dale allowing access to the mill yards. Read more Millers Dale
From its source on the gritstone moorlands west of Buxton, the River Wye cuts a southerly course through limestone country to Rowsley where it meets the River Derwent. It is not many miles long but it passes through some superb scenery, and a few dales. Monsal Dale is that part of the Wye valley between Water cum Jolly dale and the foot of Taddington dale, where it meets the A6 road. Read more Monsal Dale
Wolfscote Dale is caught between the leafy charm of Beresford Dale and the Derbyshire gem of Dovedale.
Leaving Beresford Dale, the valley opens up into low lying meadow, permitting wider views before resuming its progress through the limestone canyon. Here by a ford, legend has it that the last wolf that roamed the area was killed. The boundary between Beresford and Wolfscote dales is marked by a footbridge. Read more Wolfscote Dale
Photographs from various Derbyshire dales at Derbyshire and Peak District Photographs
For Peak District information try Peak District Guide