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Ilam Park and South Peak Estate

©NTPL/Andrew Butler

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The popular Ilam Country Park lies on the banks of the River Manifold, which waters miles of scenic meadows and limestone gorges along its rock-strewn course through the Peak District.

The parkland and the Gothic mansion known as Ilam Hall, which is now let to the Youth Hostel Association, are all part of the South Peak Estate. The wider area also incorporates Dovedale, another National Trust beauty spot which can easily be walked to from Ilam Park.

The first Ilam Hall was built in the 16th century for the Port family and was replaced by a much grander building, designed by Jesse Watts Russell in the 1820s. After just 100 years, much of this hall had been
 ©NTPL/Andrew Butler
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demolished and the remains were purchased by Sir Robert McDougall who donated it to the National Trust in 1934.

There is a small garden on the site of the original Italian Garden which was once part of the estate gardens. Paradise Walk recaptures the more formal landscaping which once contrasted with the rugged natural surroundings.

Look for the nearby St Bertram's Well just south of the church. It has provided the area with drinking water since Saxon times.

The two major rivers of the Peak District, the Manifold and the Dove, converge at Ilam and provide unsurpassed scenic spots for walking and picnicking. At the centre of Ilam Park Estate is the Visitor Centre which has constantly changing exhibits and information about the geological features of the area.

In the former stable block there is a National Trust Gift Shop. Car parking and other facilities are also available to make any visit a pleasant and fulfilling day out.

The on-site tearoom has amazing views of Dovedale's
©NTPL/Joe Cornish
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limestone valley, which can be enjoyed throughout the year over a slice of home-made cake and traditional local refreshments.

There are several walks and trails leading from the Visitor Centre towards Ilam. More adventurous hikers can take the 10-mile walk towards Wetton Mill through the heart of the Manifold Valley, passing the impressive Thor's Cave along the way.

Cyclists may enjoy cycling along the old railway line of the Manifold Valley on a relatively flat route through this unspoilt countryside.

The estate generally consists of open park and woodland with spectacular views of Thorpe Cloud, Wolfscote Dale and Biggin Dale.

Other local highlights within the park are Wetton Hill and Wetton Mill, Ossam's Hill, Hamps Valley Woodlands, Beeston Tor, Grindon Moor, the Alport Stone, Taddington Wood and Winster Market House, which was the National Trust's first property in the Peak District, back in 1906. They can all be seen on Ordnance Survey maps of the area, or located on the maps in the Ilam Park Visitor Centre.

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Bus Services:
Bowers 442 Buxton -Ashbourne, daily, alight Thorpe, 2 miles Monday-Saturday, Ilam village Sunday and Bank Holidays.

NCN68, 2 miles View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website.

Ordnance Survey Reference:

Ilam Park and South Peak Estate Postcode for SatNav: DE6 2AZ


+44 (0)1335 350 503
+44 (0)1335 350 511

South Peak Estate Office
Home Farm

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