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Dove Valley Walk: finding the mouth of the Dove

The Bonnie Prince Charlie Way was really just a fill-in walk until I could start my next big excursion. Gloopy though the BPC was, I knew it wouldn't actually be flooded, whereas the bits of ground I was tackling next had had ducks paddling on them for most of the winter.


The grand plan is to start from my house in Findern, reaching the start of the River Dove. I can then follow the Dove to Uttoxeter, making up my own route, as this section has no official waymarked path. At Uttoxeter I join the Staffordshire Way up to Rocester, then the Limestone Way beyond that. It stays near the Dove for a while longer. Then it cuts across the southern Peak District to reach Matlock. At Matlock I can pick up the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, heading south through Derby to reach the River Trent at Shardlow. The Trent has its own relatively new Way, leading back to Repton and then, eventually, home. The map shows a rough idea of the route.

If only it would stop raining long enough for me to get across all those flood plains.

Walk 1

Well, finally, it did. Sort of. I set out from Findern to Newton Solney on a day of extremely mixed weather. One minute I was considering ice cream; the next I was getting pounded by hail!


The rain was falling as I walked along the Trent & Mersey canal towpath, but by the time I reached Willington, the sun was turning wet streets into mirrors. I crossed the Trent on the Victorian stone bridge (opened 1839, freed from toll 1898) and dropped down to the flood plain beyond. This is a sheet of water when the river runs high, but today was just occasionally squelchy. 

Trent & Mersey

Willington Bridge

I came across a new waymarker for the Trent Valley Way. One flooded stile defeated me, but there was a passable route along the other side of the hedge. 

Sadly the only crossing of the Trent here is for a pipeline, so I had to content myself with taking photos of the mouth of the River Dove from the other side of the water. Actually, I needn't have bothered, as there's quite a nice photo on this sign!

River Dove meeting River Trent

Newton Solney is a pretty little village on the road between Repton and Burton. I stuck my head in the church, and admired a flowering cherry tree by the village green.


My return route took me through fields of very long grass - so long it flopped everywhere, like shaggy hair. When I reached Repton I stopped by the Repton School science block for a drink. The sun was warm and I wondered if I might treat myself to an ice cream at Mercia Marina. But an ominous dark cloud approached and threw hail at me. By the time I got to the Marina I was thinking longingly of hot chocolate. I decided I was too wet and cold even for that, though. Best head for home and get dried out.

Heading towards Repton spire

Findern - Newton Solney: 12.4 km / 9.2 miles

15 April 2024

Walk 2

I persuaded my parents (who are actually interested in such things) and the rest of my family (who thought it was a poor excuse for a day out) to join me on a tour of Claymills Pumping Station. This is a restored Victorian sewage pumping station with four massive steam-powered beam engines. They were in steam for the bank holiday weekend and were really quite an impressive sight. There was a good collection of smaller steam engines, too, and many enthusiastic volunteers.

Conveniently, Claymills happens to be situated near a path which leads to the other side of the Dove-Trent confluence. The public rights of way presumably date back to when this was a major crossing point, so I warned the rest of the family that we might need pith helmets, and we set off on our expedition to the mouth of the Dove.

 Actually, it turned out to be a clear track for most of the way. We encountered a bit of mud, lots of swans, and a WWII pillbox. Helmets were not required, but sunhats were - it was surprisingly warm.

Theo in a pillbox

big house in Newton Solney

We reached our destination successfully, and admired the view back across the Trent to Newton Solney, then followed our tracks back to the car park.

Claymills - Dove mouth and back: 4.3 km / 2.7 miles

5 May 2024


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