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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Walking with kids - Introducing Dovedale, the Peak District




We had a fantastic time camping near Buxton in the Peak District over the Easter holidays.



We enjoy the countryside, camping and walking as a family and walking is a free activity which can bring loads of benefits.  Fresh air, exercise and time together as a family being examples.

And just because you have young children doesn't mean that you can't enjoy these activities although sometimes a bit of thought is needed.
Our twins (see above) managed their first 2.5 mile walk before they were 3 years old and I hope to post some tips of walking with children in future blogs.

Dovedale in the Peak District is ideal for walking with a young family.  The biggest challenge to accessibility would be the stepping stones (see above and below) but it is fine if you are using a baby carrier and I should imagine that you could get a buggy across with a bit of help.  I probably would have tried taking ours across though it may not be recommended!.  You would need some help in carrying a pram across and would need to ensure that the stones were dry and conditions were suitable before doing so.  (Or alternatively you can access the walk from the other end and stop before the stepping stones).

There are dirt and stone paths which would be more suitable to an off road pram or the option we use is a baby carrier for our youngest.  She is however quite a weight now so is being encouraged to walk by herself more often (Josephine is below with my ever suffering husband, Niall and the well used backpack!).


 The benefits of the walk at Dovedale for children is the varied scenery and focal points.  There are a range of caves of different shapes and sizes.

Logs you can sit on (for the braver and more senior amongst us) for the perfect photo opportunity.

There are also a multitude of birds to spot on the river and overhead.  We didn't see a kingfisher but we saw a number of very tame dippers.

And the children were absolutely delighted to find a tree stump and log bench stuffed with coins.  The photos below demonstrate their attempts to remove them (I'm pleased to say that they weren't successful!).

This is a linear walk (we started from the car park at the bottom of Dovedale) so you have the option to turn round when you have had enough and return to the car park or you can continue the full  3 miles  to reach the pretty village of Milldale, buy an ice cream or a cup of tea and sit by the river.  
(This walk would be 6 miles in total from Dovedale to Milldale return).


Milldale was busy in the run up to Easter and I should imagine would get very busy during the busy summer season - so it might be worth setting off early or avoiding the peak holiday periods.  But it is definitely worth visiting.

We went with family and left a car at the other end so we only walked one way on this particular day but the twins at age 6 1/2 years are capable of managing 8 miles with plenty of snacks but they are used to longer walks - so plan according to the needs of your family.


For full details of this walk see http://www.trekkingbritain.com/dovedaletomilldale.htm


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