Dovedale and the River Dove

A few days ago we drove to Dovedale to introduce our grand children to the delights of the stepping stones there. It was half term week so many other people had the same idea. Apparently Dovedale attracts around 1 million visitors each year.

The Dove was first made famous for its fishing by writers Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton in the 17th century. Only the fairly wealthy could visit Dovedale during the 18th and 19th centuries, but from 1899 the Ashbourne to Buxton railway line ran to Thorpe Cloud station above the village of Thorpe, making Dovedale more widely accessible to walkers and hikers of all social classes. Now days most people arrive by car.

“I can assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as Greece or Switzerland”. Lord Byron

The source of the river Dove is Axe Edge Moor, between Leek and Buxton from where it flows south for 45 miles to its confluence with the Trent here at Newton Solney. For much of the way the river forms the county boundary between Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

The final stretch of the Dove is through the softer and flatter landscape of south Derbyshire. An information post and bench have recently been installed on the village side of the Trent opposite the confluence of the Trent and Dove and close to where a ford provided a crossing point many years ago.

Snowdrops in the churchyard

Many churchyards in the UK have drifts of snowdrops, a symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity. At Candlemas candles used to be taken into the church and the altar was decorated with snowdrops. This morning’s spring-like sunshine encouraged these snowdrops to open and very appropriate too as the Newton Solney village church is that of St Mary the Virgin’s Church.