Peak District walk from Hartington along Beresford and Wolfscote Dales, Derbyshire / Staffordshire
This describes two possible circuits along the River Dove from Hartington - one relatively long and the other much shorter.
Hartington is a lovely place to start a walk and few walks could be better than that along Beresford and Wolfscote Dales - an easy outing with varied and ever-changing scenery.
There are many possible circuits from Hartington and what is described below is actually two alternative circuits - one relatively long at 15 kilometres, and the other much shorter at around 10 kilometres. The first of these goes right down Beresford Dale and most of the way along Wolfscote Dale before climbing out of the valley to Alstonefield and returning across the limestone hill country which surrounds the Dove valley. The second goes only a short way down Wolfscote Dale before branching up Biggin Dale, one of the nicest of the local dales, and returning to Hartington via Biggin.
Continue downstream to a footbridge at the end of a single track road which comes down to the river here, and cross the river again. The trees disappear and the valley widens giving a broad meadow which the path traverses towards the twin crags known as the Celestial Twins, which loom over the next bend in the river. Another footbridge recrosses the river here, but you should ignore it and stay on the east bank to turn the corner to enter Wolfscote Dale, as the next section of the Dove is called.
About 200 metres along the road another track branches off right and heads back in the general direction of Hartington. Take this track and follow it for about a kilometre, until it has stopped climbing and you have passed Pea Low on your left. A footpath branches off left here across the fields heading for the gap between Pea Low and Gratton Hill, and you should take this and follow it as it curves around the northern end of Pea Low to meet a farm track. Irritatingly you must follow the farm track back about 200 metres before you can escape across the wall onto it.
From the stile a footpath opposite continues northwards along the west side of the dry valley of Narrowdale, or you can turn right and go back down the track you have just come up the side of and then down the centre of Narrowdale. It really doesn't matter which one you take, the two routes converge at the foot of Narrowdale, though the lower route can sometimes be very muddy.
Beyond the end of Narrowdale you find yourself on a farm track which leads from Narrowdale Farm. Follow the farm track northwards (often very muddy also) until it arrives at the end of the single-track road by the footbridge half-way along Beresford Dale. You must then retrace your steps to Hartington, which might be boring in other circumstances, but not when the route includes the best part of Beresford Dale.
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