Skip to navigation

Air Cottage to Waterloo Inn

Heading north along Dovedale

It's amazing how quickly things change in England. Yesterday I couldn't believe how boring the walking was, but today's walk started out with some incredible views over Dovedale, continued into one of the most wonderfully English river scenes you can imagine, and managed to stay beautiful right up to the end. My feet might have ached like hell from yesterday's long hike and my blisters might have been their usual irritating selves, but when the countryside is this good you quickly forget the pain; at last, the walking is getting more rewarding.

Wouldn't you just love to live in a gorgeous place like Dovedale?
A heron sunning itself in Dovedale

The Peak District Experience

Dovedale in the morning

The walk along Dovedale is a classic and it's no surprise to find that Hartington, the small village at the northern end of the dale, is sensibly cashing in on the resulting tourist trade. The tea rooms and shops selling potted plants are squarely aimed at the mature tourists who pack the coaches that block up the village centre, and it was pleasant for a change not to be the only person hobbling and using walking sticks.

Hartington is a pretty little place

Ancient Stones

Arbor Low
Arbor Low

Permit me to quote something from my guidebook, Andrew McCloy's The Land's End to John o'Groats Walk. Just after talking about Hartington he says:

It's worth taking a five-minute detour down the Youlgreave turning to visit Arbor Low, a Neolithic stone circle possibly as much as 5000 years old. Sometimes referred to as 'the Stonehenge of the North', the huge, surrounding grassy banks enclose around 50 fallen stones, but the original purpose of the enigmatic hilltop site remains a mystery.

Sounds good, eh? Who wouldn't take a five-minute detour to take in the Stonehenge of the North, especially on a walk this long? And so I turned off the Youlgreave road and prepared to be taken back in time.

Arbor Low
Arbor Low is known as the 'Stonehenge of the North'... incredibly
A sheep with an injured foot
A sheep with an injured foot
A sign asking people not to let their dogs foul the grass
A happy little sign in Flagg

Long Slog

The pretty spire of Monyash

From Arbor Low I hit the trail through the pretty village of Monyash (where I didn't stop at the Old Smithy Café, mainly because the book said to make sure I did) and joined the Limestone Way all the way to the Waterloo Inn, my stop for the night; yet again I tried to book into the hostel recommended in the route and yet again it was full of schoolchildren, but the Waterloo Inn was a handy alternative.