Dovedale is one of the most scenic and popular places in the Peak District. A natural formation in the White Peak, Dovedale is a limestone valley that follows the River Dove, running from Thorpe Cloud up to the entrance of Mill Dale, and is home to interesting rock formations and caves. Today it is popular for its wildlife, plants and tranquillity, making it an excellent spot for activities such as bird-watching and walking. It is also a popular filming location and is often featured in wildlife programmes.
Millions of years ago, when most of the UK was positioned near the equator, Dovedale was part of the seabed and was home to a coral reef. As a result the limestone valleys of Dovedale are rich in the fossils of marine creatures from the Lower Carboniferous (Devonian) period. During the 19th and early 20th centuries parts of Dovedale were excavated by geologists and it is still considered an area of geological importance. It is partly because of this significant geology that it was declared part of the Peak District National park in 1951, which is currently the second most visited national park in the world.
Dovedale first started to become a popular tourist spot in the 17th century when writers Charles Cotton (1630-1687) and Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) sang the praises of the area and it has remained popular ever since. Over the years it has inspired artwork, poetry and myth, and is still a popular theme in the annual Derbyshire Open Art competition. Dovedale is now looked after by the National Trust and is part of their White Peak Estate. Entrance is free but parking charges apply.
Why not have a go at our Dovedale Art Trail?