Dovedale Family Activity Trail

Today you’re going on an adventure through Dovedale. This trail will take you 2 miles to Reynard’s Cave and back. Along the way there are fun activities for you to do as a group. Have fun!

 feet2 Look out for the footprint symbol. This tells you there is an activity to do at this point on the trail.

After the trail,come to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery to find out more about the geology and archaeology of the Peak District.

Send us your photos: email  or upload to Twitter with #CITLdovedale.

Dovedale Family Activity Trail map

Dovedale Family Activity Trail map

Start the trail…

Leave the car park and walk along the main footpath with the river Dove on your right. Soon you’ll come to the Stepping Stones.

Be careful when crossing the river.

feet2 The stones were brought here in the late 19th century. Think about how you could have crossed the river before then.

Once across the Stepping Stones, turn left and go through the stile.

 feet2Can you see the fossils in the stile? These fossilised creatures are called crinoids. See more of these, and other fossils, at Buxton Museum.

Keep the river on your left. After a little while, you will take the stepped path up to the top of the hill. This hill is called Lover’s Leap – find out why later!

feet2 Look out for more fossils in the steps!


12 apostles

At the top of the steps, look left and you will see the Twelve Apostles across the river. The Twelve Apostles were the main followers of Jesus.

feet2Do you think the big rocks look like Apostles? How many can you find? Take your own photo from a creative angle, give it a name and send it to us!

Email  or upload to Twitter with #CITLdovedale.

The path descends down and widens. After about 400 metres and through the gate you will see Church Rocks on your left and Tissington Spires on your right.



feet2Artists have been attracted to Dovedale for hundreds of years. These pictures of Church Rocks were made about 200 years ago. Do you think it still looks the same? What has changed? Did the artist draw Church Rocks accurately?


Continue for another 300 metres. Up on your right you will see a stone arch and, behind it, Reynard’s Cave. This cave was used by animals and people for thousands of years. Archaeologists have explored the cave and found artefacts from the past.



 feet2 Would your group make good archaeologists? Try this quiz and see how you do (answers at the bottom).


Q1: This looks like it is from something larger. Is it:

a) The rim of a pot from Roman times

b) A fossilised pizza crust

c) Part of a rusty metal gate post


Q2: Other Roman artefacts like this have been found in the cave. This item is jewellery, but what sort?

a) A hat pin

b) An earring

c) A brooch

Q3: Look at this jaw bone with a tooth still attached. All of you together – make the sound of this animal. Does anyone know what sound a mammoth made? Which animal does the tooth come from?

a) A hyena

b) A cow

c) A mammoth



Now turn back so the river is on your right and walk back to Lover’s Leap.

Lover’s Leap is named after an accident that happened here nearly 300 years ago. During the Napoleonic Wars, a young woman heard that her boyfriend had been killed. She was so upset that she climbed up to the top of Lover’s Leap and threw herself off. feet2Luckily she survived the fall, what do you think saved her?

a) Her billowing skirt got caught in the branches

b) Her long hair got caught on a rock

c) She landed at the bottom on her feet

She was able to scramble to safety. When she got home she was given the news that her boyfriend was actually alive. He had arrived in England and was on his way to see her.

thorpe cloud

As you approach the Stepping Stones, look up ahead to see the hill, Thorpe Cloud.

 feet2Close your eyes. Imagine it is 330 million years ago. Do you know where you would be? In a tropical sea surrounded by a coral reef! What other creatures can you see around you? Are they dangerous?


The photos on your right show fossils that were found right here. A long, long, time ago they would have been living creatures, swimming around.




Well done, you have completed the Dovedale Family Activity Trail!

To find out more about anything in the trail, visit Buxton Museum and Art Gallery



Reynard’s Cave:

Q1: A

This is the rim of a pot. A lot of pottery fragments have been found in Reynard’s Cave. This shows that the cave was inhabited by people.

Q2: C

This is a type of Roman brooch, called a trumpet brooch. Romans used it to secure their cloaks – like a large safety pin! Find out more about how archaeologists discovered such a tiny artefact back at Buxton Museum!

Q3: B

This tooth is from a cow. People would have sheltered and lived in Reynard’s cave. They had to butcher their meat before cooking and eating it so archaeologists often find pieces of jawbone and teeth in places where people lived.
Lover’s Leap: A