Join us this week on a simply beautiful, easy-going walk of Ilam Park and the surrounding area.
Ilam Park (Easier)
This is a gentle stroll of between a mile and two miles depending upon the exact route you take.
Walk leader and owner of Peak Walking Adventures, Cath Lee explains how she feels about this particular walk. “I love this walk because of the contrasts between the village of Ilam which is built in an Alpine style, and the park itself which is a real piece of traditional English countryside.”
The picturesque village of Ilam is made up of a series of rather unusual, but absolutely beautiful cottages which simply do not look like they belong in the Peak District.
Ilam Hall is a stunning Gothic style mansion and has been used in many historic film sets. The hall is now a wonderful YHA youth hostel but its gardens and parkland are managed by the National Trust and are open to the public and you can enjoy a stroll through the Italian Gardens with amazing views beyond the tiny church to the peaks of Bunster Hill and Thorpe Cloud. There’s a great visitor centre with an exhibition about the South Peak Estate. From there, descend a well-made path to the side of the River Manifold and enjoy the Victorian Paradise Walk before taking in the traditional English parkland of Ilam Park with its majestic trees and the remains of a medieval ridge and furrow field system.
This area abounds with natural beauty as it also serves as a fantastic starting point for walks to Dovedale and the Manifold Valley along the Manifold Track, a favourite for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, following the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway, through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys from Waterhouses (cycle hire available) to Hulme End. All of this is within easy reach of the market town of Ashbourne.
Don’t take our, or Cath’s words for it, see it for yourselves! You will not be disappointed.
Join us next week for a true Peak District classic, the Great Ridge Walk, stretching from Mam Tor to Losehill, in the Hope Valley. A walk not for the faint-hearted!
As ever, for more inspiration, great walks, things to see and do and places to stay, go to the website www.visitpeakdistrict.com