Late spring hike in the Manifold Valley: riverside wild garlic and newborn lambs

In late spring we make our annual trip to the Staffordshire border in search of the wild garlic.  At Ilam, it carpets the banks of the River Manifold, and the wonderful scent is heavy in the air.  We breathe it in:  summer is on the way.

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Starting at Ilam Park, a National Trust property, we walk through the formal gardens, and cross the stone bridge over the River Manifold…

… the wild garlic reaches from the edge of the water, up past the trees, as far as you can see.

A short detour takes you to the natural playground of jumbled old logs and tree stump stepping stones through the foliage.

Turning back towards the distant hills and past an old gear house…

… we make our way through fields of sheep.  A short walk beside the road then leads us down some old stone steps, cut into the corner of the village bridge.

The lambs are so friendly, and tag along after the children, joining us as we walk alongside the river.

It has been a really dry spring, leaving this bridge redundant, but our youngest two children love it, and run back and forth over it several times.

Towards the end of the walk, the route takes a sharp turn up hill, into breezier paths lined with yellow gorse.

One final climb up a grassy hill…

… takes us to the perfect picnic spot, where we have a clear view across the valley to the distinctive flat summit of Thorpe Cloud.  We will be climbing Thorpe Cloud, later in the year, when we make a return to Dovedale.

Follow our journey along the winding, gentle river, from Ilam, to the merging of the Manifold and Dove rivers, close to Dovedale and Thorpe Cloud:

To find out more about Ilam Park, and walks in the area, see the dedicated page on the National Trust Website



  1. Hi 🙂
    It looks like a really nice place to visit. The video was very peaceful. 🙂 Thank you for letting me come along with you on your hike. I love watching the baby sheep!


  2. I am sooo jealous!! Your area is beautiful and I love the “old gear house” – outstanding!! May I save that pic for my drawing crafting? I love playing with drawing and painting and am always looking for a new challenge! I also miss all the green that you have…It was like that growing up in Wisconsin (back in the 1960’s), but on our last visit, the U.P. was becoming too open (logging, man-made cranberry bogs, and -sad-to-say-farmers clearing out most of the beautiful woods up there.). Can always tell, at dusk, when man has invaded too much of the natural areas by the number of wild animals that run out in front of your car. We had 3 small black bears, several deer and I lost count on the raccoons. I really miss the thick greens! Thank you for sharing – especially the beautiful pics!! Nice!!


  3. I found you through Jo’s Monday Walk – I love the old house, and the last photo reminds me of when my parents took me on walks like this when I was a kid 🙂


  4. The bridges are so lovely and rustic. What fun to cross them for your children, and I’ll bet you, too. It’s amazing how lambs are lambs the world around and how much similarity there is in your countryside and ours although we live far from each other. The lambs are in the fields around here, too, and the babies are getting a little older now. Many are born in late winter around this area. The old gear house is very sturdy looking and looks like it’s been there quite a while. It’s very picturesque. I enjoy seeing all the glimpses of other areas of the world. You live in a lovely area.


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