With its grey stone cottages, running stream and old pack-horse bridge, Milldale is one of the most picturesque villages in the Peak District. Situated at the northern end of Dovedale, just a five minute drive north of Ashbourne, it really is the most tranquil, perfectly situated riverside hamlet, consisting of only a dozen or so cottages which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
This small village got its name from the old corn mill which once stood by the water. It is no longer here today as it was demolished in the 19th century but the old mill stone can still be seen in the river bed. The remnants of the old mill barn are now used by the National Trust to provide walkers with information on the area.
Why Visit Milldale?
The village has always been a popular spot with walkers. Milldale links between Ilam and the Dovedale trail which is most famous for its stepping stones which adorn postcards up and down the country. The Viator bridge in Milldale is an ancient pack-horse bridge which crosses over the River Dove and connects Milldale to the trail through the Dovedale Valley. This is a beautiful walk and well worth doing if you have an afternoon to spend! The bridge was named after a character in the book ‘The Complete Angler’ written by Izaak Watton in 1653, viator being the Latin word for traveller. Some of the goods carried across this bridge were silks and flax from nearby villages Wetton and Alstonefield.
Being so small and secluded, this village is extremely quiet during the weekdays. It gets slightly busier at weekends when there are lots of walkers about passing through. If you visit on a quiet day you can hear every single sound and yet nothing but silence all at once. It’s beautiful to experience, just the sounds of nature. The birds cheeping in the trees, the water of the river flowing and a rustle of the wind in the trees. There aren’t many places like this left to enjoy unless you take a hike into the middle of nowhere rather than drive a few miles away from the largest local town. You get to completely retreat from daily life and reconnect with nature. There isn’t even any phone signal here so you are well and truly disconnected from the modern world. To me this is the perfect escape.
Where To Stay In Milldale?
If you want more than a few hours in Milldale then there are a couple of cottages you can rent to enjoy a few days here. My favourite is Duck Cottage which overlooks the river. The property has just recently been renovated by new owners and is available to rent through Airbnb – I’ll link to it below if you’d like to book yourself a stay or just take a peek inside. I also recommend the gardeners cottage at Alstonefield Manor as a good place to base yourself in the area. The small village of Alstonefield is just up the hill north of Milldale and has a wonderful village pub to enjoy some food in.
Parking In Milldale
For those just visiting for the day, there is a medium sized, free of charge car park. Just drive straight through the village and then you will see parking signs for it. It is then just a minute walk back to the centre of the village. The postcode for the village itself is DE6 2GB and if you enter that into your sat nav, that will take you straight to the centre of the village and from there follow the above.