Peak Pilgrimage, Peak District – 39 miles – 4 days – Ilam to Eyam. Find soul-healing in the heart of England walking from Ilam to Eyam through the beautiful Peak District National Park, with its clean wildness. Experience peaks, dells and national nature reserves, the twelve churches along the way, and culminate in a celebration of the heroism of the people of Eyam who, as a united village, isolated themselves during the 1665 plague, which meant many more died in the village but the spread of the disease was halted.
The start, Ilam, has been a place of pilgrimage since the days of the saxon St Bertram, whose gripping life story ended up with him living as a hermit in Ilam. From his tomb you walk through the breathtaking Dovedale, meeting the primitive, tiny Milldale Methodist Chapel, on to Alstonefield and its excellent pub The George, and then down the dramatic Gipsy Bank, on to Hartington through Wolfscote Dale up the valley of the Dove. Hartington Hall Youth Hostel is a good place to rest. Then it’s along the old railway track ‘Tissington Trail’ to the picturesque village of Monyash, and the pristine and wildlife-rich Lathkil Dale, a secluded piece of old wild England. Next, the only town on the route, Bakewell, home of the tart and much more, before heading over the Calton Pasture, with a view over Capability Brown’s Chatsworth House landscape, before arriving at Edensor Church, the family church of the Devonshires, then through the grounds of Chatsworth to the lively village of Baslow. Then it’s a choice of going up river, gently, or up to the magnificent stone-lined ridge of Curbar and Froggatt Edge. St Martin’s Church at Stoney Middleton is in the shape of an octagon, then the path becomes steep up to Eyam via the boundary stone associated with the Eyam plague of 1665 until you arrive at your destination, St Lawrence’s Church, which commemorates the love shown by their sacrifice.
A route inspired by the folk example of sacrifice for the common good
Immensely beautiful Peak District for the whole route
Fairytale landscapes of Dovedale and Lathkil Dale
Plentiful dining and accommodation given the remoteness
Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: Eyam; Bakewell; Ilam.